Monday, October 21, 2013

"Many Rivers To Cross" Reggae Song, Book, & PBS Television Series

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases Reggae singer Jimmy Cliff's stellar 1969 composition "Many Rivers To Cross".

This post also provides information about Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s book The Americans: "Many Rivers To Cross" & the six part Public Brocasting Station (PBS) television series with that name that begins on October 22, 2013.

The content of this post is presented for historical and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

SHOWCASE VIDEO: Jimmy Cliff - Many Rivers To Cross

houseofreggae, Uploaded on Jul 9, 2008

Live in Glastonbury [England], 2003

Here's one comment from this video's viewer comment thread

Joan Taylor, 2012
"No superlatives are enough, an amazing, amazing performance. I remember watching on TV in 2003, loved it then, love it still."
Here's an excerpt about this song from
"Many Rivers to Cross" is a song written in 1969 by Jimmy Cliff.

This is one of the few Cliff tracks to use an organ, which helps to supplement the gospel feel provided by the backing vocalists. Cliff released the song, with production work by Leslie Kong, on his 1969 album, Jimmy Cliff. It was also released on the 1972 soundtrack album for the film The Harder They Come, in which Cliff also starred. Rolling Stone ranked it #317 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The song is featured in the 2013 film Rush.[1]
Here's an excerpt about Jimmy Cliff from his Wikipedia page
"Jimmy Cliff, OM (born James Chambers, 1 April 1948) is a Jamaican musician, singer and actor. He is the only currently living musician to hold the Order of Merit, the highest honour that can be granted by the Jamaican government for achievement in the arts and sciences.

Cliff is best known among mainstream audiences for songs such as "Wonderful World, Beautiful People", "The Harder They Come," "Sitting in Limbo", "You Can Get It If You Really Want" and "Many Rivers to Cross" from the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, which helped popularize reggae across the world;[2] and his covers of Cat Stevens' "Wild World" and Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now" from the film Cool Runnings. He starred in the film The Harder They Come. Cliff was one of five performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010."...

(Jimmy Cliff)

Many rivers to cross
But I can't seem to find my way over
Wandering I am lost
As I travel along the white cliffs of dover

Many rivers to cross
And it's only my will that keeps me alive
I've been licked, washed up for years
And I merely survive because of my pride

And this loneliness won't leave me alone
It's such a drag to be on your own
My woman left me and she didn't say why
Well, I guess I'll have to cry

Many rivers to cross
But just where to begin I'm playing for time
There have been times I find myself
Thinking of committing some dreadful crime

Yes, I've got many rivers to cross
But I can't seem to find my way over
Wandering, I am lost
As I travel along the white cliffs of Dover

Yes, I've got many rivers to cross
And I merely survive because of my will...


"The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross is the companion book to the six-part, six hour documentary of the same name, airing on national, primetime public television in the fall of 2013. The series is the first to air since 1968 that chronicles the full sweep of 500 years of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent and the arrival of the first black conquistador, Juan Garrido, in Florida in 1513, through five centuries of remarkable historic events right up to today—when Barack Obama is serving his second term as President, yet our country remains deeply divided by race and class.

The book explores these topics in even more detail than possible in the television series, and examines many other fascinating matters as well, such as the ethnic origins—and the regional and cultural diversity—of the Africans whose enslavement led to the creation of the African American people...

The road to freedom for black people in America has not been linear; rather, much like the course of a river, it has been full of loops and eddies, slowing and occasionally reversing current. Ultimately, this book emphasizes the idea that African American history encompasses multiple continents and venues, and must be viewed through a transnational perspective to be fully understood."
Click for an interactive website that provides more information about that American television series & more information about African American history.

Click for information about Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

My thanks to Jimmy Cliff for his musical legacy. Thanks also to Henry Louis Gates Jr. for his life work in researching and sharing information about Black history & culture. And thanks to PBS for producing and airing this seriees.

Thank you for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

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