Feb 22

Sitting in Limbo

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Sitting in Limbo by Jimmy Cliff

I’ve always liked this song by Jimmy Cliff, which first came out when I was a sophomore in college, prime listening time. The soundtrack album from the film (‘The Harder They Come’) played a major part in popularizing reggae in the United States and the world beyond, the film itself precluding reggae from remaining an isolated phenomenon in Jamaica. Enormously successful in Jamaica, the film also reached the international market and has been described as “possibly the most influential of Jamaican films and one of the most important films from the Caribbean”. It was one of the cool midnight-showing films that were then becoming popular.

Interesting fact: Jimmy Cliff sang two other songs from the album (‘Many Rivers to Cross’ and ‘The Harder They Come’) on the first season of SNL in 1976 with Dick Cavett as host.

‘Sitting in Limbo’ was not the most popular song on the soundtrack, but its lyrics are a perfect fit for the Covid times in which we now find ourselves. With the Covid metrics currently ebbing, the lyrics ‘waiting for the tide to flow’, ‘waiting for the dice to roll’ and ‘got some time to search my soul’ take on a new meaning. Accordingly, I’ve tried to reflect our recent optimism by speeding it up a little bit and incorporating a half-step-up key change to the final verse. I wish I could do this song justice by singing it to you, but the lyrics say it all.


Dr. Weiss


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