The Harder They Come

by Rhythm Express featuring Gavin Hope

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We knew going in, recording Harder They Come would bring specific challenges. How do you remake a classic; one that gave voice to a nation and portrayed the people, the conditions and daily life as it was, down to the spoken word – thick local patois and people seeing themselves on the big screen as they were for the first moments, created a film sensation.

The 1972 movie, starring singer Jimmy Cliff is based on a real life Jamaican “gansta” known as Rhyging whose storied life was scripted in the 1940s. Cliff makes a character change playing Ivanhoe Martin; now a musician, not a drug lord. This gives Cliff ample space to explore and reveal the underbelly of the Jamaican recording industry. This is old school business. Record day and night, press a few copies then cycle from community to community - promote and sell those hot 45s. Who gets paid-off and who keeps the dollars is always in question. On one hand it’s about music – the other; intimidation and control.

Rolling Stone Magazine ranks The Harder They Come #346 on the top “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” No argument here!

Rhythm Express remake is built from bottom up with Jesse “Dubmatix” King classic bass lines – Shane ‘Shakey J” Forrest, skank – and blues guitar solo, recent Reggae Hall of Fame inductee Everton “Pablo” Paul drums, and percussion – Heavyweights Brass Band’s – Christopher Butcher trombone – Bobby Hsu alto sax- Gavin Hope lead vocals- Selena Evangeline, Michael Dunston and Aria Zenua background vocals.
The rhythm section spent hours on the details; getting just the right feel and parts in motion.

The horns were then brought in and placed just outside the moving vocal lines; never conflicting or imposing.


released February 1, 2016
Produced/keyboards: Bill King
Engineer/guitar: Shane “Shaky J” Forrest
Drums/percussion: Everton “Pablo” Paul
Bass: Jesse “Dubmatix” King
Lead Vocal/BGs: Gavin Hope
Background vocals: Selena Evangeline, Michael Dunston, Aria Zenua.
Trombone: Christopher Butcher
Alto Sax: Bobby Hsu
Songwriter: Jimmy Cliff - Published by: Universal Music Publishing Group



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The Rhythm Express Toronto, Ontario

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