Jimmy Cliff – I Can See Clearly Now

Release Date: Mar 1994
Chart Position: 23

Today was pretty much like any other day; let me talk you through it all.
I was woken up early in the morning by the recycling people collecting in our road and making a total racket outside and I then struggled to get back to sleep so after an hour or so tossing and turning I decided I might as well get up.
Went outside and “oh great! It’s April and it’s still f*cking minus eight and snowing”, now the joys of scraping the frost off the car. Couldn’t find my gloves so just accepted the fact I was going to get a mild case of frostbite. After my hands defrosted I thought to myself “well at least I’m early for work and should get quite a bit done today”.
The first messages I listen to are from two of my team mates (!?) that are sick and I need to cover not just my own sh*t, but their sh*t to. Apparently it’s so cold outside lazy people can’t even get out of bed.
About 11am comes around. Perfect, now it’s time for my wife to call and give me a list of irrelevant chores that need completing by the time I get home otherwise she won’t speak to me for the rest of the evening. That is my favourite phone call of the day!
Lunchtime comes around and because my so call ‘team mates’ can’t be arsed to come to work, I only have time for a very crusty and questionable roll and a cup of cold vegetable soup. Lucky me! Great. I then spill the soup down my shirt and will now look like a tit for the rest of the day. A quick look at the news while I grab a 2 minutes break from my life enriching job – usual sh*t; war, some nut job murdered his family, economic failures left right and centre. Brilliant. Luckily though I manage to get out of work at a reasonable hour and thankfully it is still light enough outside that I can pick up the dog sh*t in the garden – Thanks Alfie!
Then just as I think the day could not really get any worse.
After all the crap I have got from the Neggae Elders, I have still not done this week’s review or even listened to the tune. I bet this weeks is sh*t from the likes of Johnny Gill or those two broads in that market place, some thoughtless piece of crap that no one has put an ounce of imagination into and simply trying to make money, wasting my time and I have to think of 20 different ways to say THIS IS SH*T!

Today just could not get better!

I then look up what we are reviewing this week – Jimmy Cliff, I can See Clearly Now, I sit back and listen to it and afterwards reflect on my day.

If the recycling men had not come this morning who would have emptied my recycling? Recycling a good thing, and without it this world would be a worse place. The only reason they come so early is so that they do not get in the way during rush hour – that would be really annoying. They are the bedrock of society! If there was an ark for the end of the world, I would have recycling people on it, any current or future society needs recycling.
Yes it was cold, but you need cold days to make you appreciate the hot ones when they come. If it was hot every day that would be crap wouldn’t it?
So what my team mates pulled a couple of sickies? No Biggy! I’ve done the same and they would do the same for me – that is what team mates are for, they cover you when you need them and it works both ways; and anyway I am lucky to have a job. Some people don’t and because of that I am going to make the very best of it. Not everybody is lucky enough to have the opportunities I do and because of that I am blessed!
My wife calling me about the chores, yes they may seem irrelevant, but they are important to my wife and therefore important to me. She only wants them doing as she cares so much about our life together and the little things make it even more perfect. I’m very lucky to have her.
So what I only had a roll and some soup for lunch? I need to lose a bit of weight anyway and it might make me a bit quicker? Nice one! I’ll be even better at football now. Ha! what a wally for spilling it on my shirt, made some guys I know laugh though. Those guys crack me up!
All the bad stuff in the world and in the news makes you realise how lucky we are. We don’t have to live in a war torn environment, some people do. I think on reflection I am going to give and do more stuff for charity. There are people in other parts of the world that need our help.
As for the dog, “little fella, I don’t mind picking up his sh*t!” Where else is he going to go? Better than it being in the house and at least he has the courtesy of doing it outside. He truly is man’s best friend and I’d do anything for the little guy (a few less watery ones would be nice though mate).
And that’s what this song does people! It turns bad things good! It turns the glass that is half empty seem half full. It makes the equalizer you conceded in the last minute to end 1-1 seem like a point gained vs. 2 points lost. It’s like when United win the league, at least it’s not Liverpool!
There is a reason why no fewer than 37 artists have covered this track since Johnny Nash’s original and a reason why it has appeared in countless films, most iconic of which was Cool Runnings – It’s ace and it makes you feel good.
Score: A full house 10/10 from me, maybe I should have listened to this before I did Ace of Base’s The Sign? Peace out and stay safe people, I’ll catch you all next week – Life is great isn’t it!

This is a nineties RELOAD of the classic tune which was done for the Soundtrack of Neggae’s ‘Easy Rider’, ‘Cool Runnings’ but alas this is no Steppenwolf it’s more like the Four Tops from ‘Buster’. I think they were aiming for a nineties version of ‘The Harder they come’ which also featured Jimmy Cliff, it’s not worked. I love the original Johnny Nash version of this but the powers that be seem to have thought it could be improved by introducing cheap, modern production techniques and it sounds like it was made for Christopher Maloney rather than the great man himself. Looking at the comments below though it seems it’s gained favour with the ‘Made in Chelsea’ set, “this tune reminds me of the good old days, yah man, bring back the old school days, yah man.”.
The video is ok, but it would be, it’s got clips of ‘Cool Runnings’ so can’t fail. My big hope for this is that it made Jimmy a shed load of cash as there’s really no other purpose to it. It’s a really poor cover version done by a superior artist to the original, which has sent my brain plummeting into an MC Escher like infinite spiral, why Jimmy why?
Score: The mark is only this high because it’s Jimmy Cliff – 4/10

One year into the arrival of Neggae and even Walt Disney had decided to ride the Wave of Jamaica’s new found popularity. October 1992 saw the release of Cool Runnings, a story of hope over East Germany, sorry… Adversity, which was loosely based on the exploits of the Jamaican bobsled team of the 1988 Winter Olympics.
It wasn’t a bad film. Anything with John Candy in it is alright by me and even now if I stick on ITV2 with a Sunday hang over and its there I’ll probably see it through. Out of the many cliche’s sprung the OST’s stand out track, a Neggae re-work of Johnny Nash’s 1972 hit I can see clearly now( the rain has gone). This time sung by Jimmy Cliff.
I remember queuing up for lunch at school one day after this one was released. A couple of  1st year kids were whistling the tune and laughing inanely. A slightly portly female class mate of theirs was scowling at them over her Iced Bun and Cherry Calypso. She was red in the face with anger.  At that point she scrunched up her carton and stormed out.
The mouth piece of the gang then closed his eyes and chirped off with his best rendition of “I can see clearly now Lorraine has gone” as she made her exit. The penny dropped. Poor girl must have been on the receiving end for most of that Summer. She probably still hates Jimmy Cliff to this day. She probably still hates Sanka, Dorice, Yul Brenner and Junior Bevill as well.
Puerile bullying aside, Because of the association with Cool Runnings the song does have a certain comedic value. I notice also there are two video versions for this release, which suggests a disorganised promotional programme. There is this advert fot the Jamaica tourist board released first, and then the rush-job above with film clips hastily crammed in after it was evident the film was a success. And it’s what you would expect, full of mad cap teasers of Sanka driving around in his box car and Yul Brenner dreaming of one day moving into Buckingham Palace. Those guys!
The song itself doesn’t stray too far from the original. Jimmy Cliff provides good vocals and the beats are cheery. Its populous main stream neggae made for all sundry, it would have to be to appeal to a Disney audience.
Its difficult not to like it but its not good enough to make you sing along and skank. A one foot tapper at best.
Score: A Walt DisNeggae 7 out of 10.

I’ve waited a long time for this one. Jimmy Cliff bringing the heat with “I can see clearly now”, one of my all time favourites. What a great follow up to Chaka Demus and Pliers last week. No pretenders here, no Scandanavian wannabes poncing around. The Neggae hot 90 may have peaked!
What we have here is sweet island music, rustic instrumentals with a modern remix, the pureset of pure vocals and sunshine. The pefect mix for any summer party at the height of the Neggae revolution. As the intro begins, you are instantly swept to another state of mind, a good one, a happy one and a peaceful one. There is something very soothing about Jimmy and his offerings. Makes me take a deep breath, reach over for my gallon of malibu and pineapple, twirl my small paper umbrella around and forget that it’s cold, rainy and completely unsummer like!
The song doesn’t have great depth and meaning, just a very proud and humble man singing about his island and bloody good weather. Not a bad combination if you ask me. If I lived there I’d be “windmilling” like JC at the top of a mountain and I’d certainly be looking to get his tailor to sort me out.
Score: Put me down for an easy and tropical 9/10

For me, this is where Neggae entered into its imperial phase. When reggae legends are re-releasing original classics given a nineties redux off the back of a hollywood blockbuster, I think it’s safe to say Neggae has arrived. There is no doubt that the groundswell of love for reggae that was sweeping the globe had a positive effect on the success of the movie.
As for the song, it’s an acceptable effort from a reggae hero who’d paid his dues and deserved a payday. Typical neggae sheen, with crisp digital beats and sub-bass replacing the organic instrumentation of the Johnny Nash original. And anyone who doesn’t like the original is not wired up correctly.
Score: An exacty-what-it-says-on-the-tin 7/10 from me.



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