10 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

A tour de force album from one of reggae’s greatest songwriters, 1972’s Struggling Man finds Jimmy Cliff trying to pick up the pieces in the wake of the death of his mentor, the great ska and rocksteady producer Leslie Kong. Kong had introduced a teenaged Cliff to the Jamaican record industry in the early ‘60s, had helped him to develop and mature as a songwriter, and had furnished Cliff’s early hits with his soothing yet rough hewn sound. Kong’s sudden death left Cliff uncertain as to the creative and commercial direction of his career. On Struggling Man, he assesses his debt to his mentor, delivers a regretful farewell to youthful innocence on “Those Good Old Days,” and begins to discover how to honor his fallen friend with his talents on “Let’s Seize The Time.” Struggling Man remains a singular album in Cliff’s discography as it finds the usually chipper singer pondering themes of loss and disillusionment. Ultimately it is the tension between overwhelming despair, and Cliff’s will to celebrate in the face of suffering that makes Struggling Man such a compelling work. A classic.

EDITORS’ NOTES

A tour de force album from one of reggae’s greatest songwriters, 1972’s Struggling Man finds Jimmy Cliff trying to pick up the pieces in the wake of the death of his mentor, the great ska and rocksteady producer Leslie Kong. Kong had introduced a teenaged Cliff to the Jamaican record industry in the early ‘60s, had helped him to develop and mature as a songwriter, and had furnished Cliff’s early hits with his soothing yet rough hewn sound. Kong’s sudden death left Cliff uncertain as to the creative and commercial direction of his career. On Struggling Man, he assesses his debt to his mentor, delivers a regretful farewell to youthful innocence on “Those Good Old Days,” and begins to discover how to honor his fallen friend with his talents on “Let’s Seize The Time.” Struggling Man remains a singular album in Cliff’s discography as it finds the usually chipper singer pondering themes of loss and disillusionment. Ultimately it is the tension between overwhelming despair, and Cliff’s will to celebrate in the face of suffering that makes Struggling Man such a compelling work. A classic.

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