Rock and Folk

The Harder They Come. Those who are reluctant to spend their weekend's music money on a club performance by a singer or musician they have never heard before should consider seeing the return engagement of the Orson Welles Theater's greatest triumph. The Harder They Come is Perry Henzell's film about a poor young black man in Jamaica, a would-be rock star, driven to dealing in drugs by the island's only record company, which refused to pay him fairly for his hit songs. An exciting and beautifully photographed attempt at a film about exploitation and freedom, the story falls basically because the hero has no real cognizance of his political situation. However, the music never disappoints: The sound track includes songs by the film's star, Jimmy Cliff, a splendid singer whose brand of reggae is strongly influenced by British rock, and by Desmond Dekker, whose reggae is much closer to the hypnotic "rock steady" rhythms of Jamaica in the early sixties. This film easily warrants a second viewing and hearing. Through Tuesday, April 23 at 4, 7:15, and 9:45 p.m.

Steven Grossman. His ads say, "Through his songs, Grossman gives an honest, straightforward insight into the gay life." If true, he's worth hearing. Through Sunday, April 21 at Passim. Call 492-7679 for information.

Patrick Sky. Sky's most recent album Songs that Made America Famous ("I tried to put something on it that would offend everyone") is essentially a long dead-baby joke. The remarkable thing is that he plays excellent guitar and banjo, and when he's not too drunk to be coherent, sings well enough too. Through Sunday, April 21 at the Stone Phoenix Coffee House, 9:30 and 11:30 p.m., $3.

Music Notes. Melissa Manchester sings at the Performance Center through Saturday, April 20, 8 and 10:30 p.m. The Jazz Coalition performs the same nights in Performance Center II...Peter Bellamy, an a cappella singer of traditional English folk songs, will perform Friday, April 19 at the Joy of Movement Center, 8 p.m., $2.