yardie's reggae collection - artist page

JOE HIGGS (b. 1940 - † 1999)


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1972 - Pressure Sounds - studio - discs: 1

Joe Higgs was born on June 3rd, 1940 in Kingston. By the late 50's Joe formed the duo Higgs & Wilson and in 1960 their "Manny Oh" cut for future Prime Minister Edward Seaga's West Indies Records Limited (WIRL) became a huge hit. Soon after the duo cut some strong hits for Sir "Coxsone" Dodd as "There's A Reward" and "Mighty Man". They also cut for Prince Buster, Duke Reid, King Edwards, Lincoln O. Pottinger and Leslie Kong. In 1966 Higgs cut "I Am The Song My Enemy Sings" (here recut as "Song My Enemy Sings") and "Change Of Plan" (here recut as "Come On Home") again for Studio One. In the meantime Roy Wilson had left Jamaica for the U.S. and Higgs continued singing as a solo voice but also with other artists. Hits as "The Wave Of War", "World Upside Down" and "Let Us Do Something" must be remembered here. A seminal figure in Kingston 12, Joe was the teacher of The Wailers and the Wailing Souls. In 1973 he hit with "Invitation To Jamaica". During that same year Joe toured the U.S. with The Wailers. In 1975 the present set (originally cut in 1972 for Island Records) was released by Pete Weston in Jamaica and the following year in the U.K.. With some songs originally cut by the late 60's and recut for the occasion, "Life Of Contradiction" depicted the unique style of Joe Higgs. A difficult set to be fully appreciated if not through many listenings (take your time), somehow out of time and far from what was going on by the time, "Life Of Contradiction" is a small gem inside the Reggae huge musical universe. Higgs employed the following musicians: Mikey Boo Richards (drums), Val Douglas (bass), Eric Gale (lead guitar), Michael Chung (rhythm guitar) and Wire Lindo (piano). The original ten songs are: "Come On Home", "Got To Make A Way", "Wake Up And Live", "Life Of Contradiction", "Who Brought Down The Curtains", "There's A Reward", "Hard Times Don't Bother Me", "My Baby Still Love Me", "She Was The One" and "Song My Enemy Sings". The tracks were self-produced and cut at Harry J Recording Studio with Sylvan Morris engineering. This re-release also adds two bonus tracks: "Let Us Do Something" and its version called "Freedom Journey" both cut in 1972. After the release of "Life Of Contradiction" Joe toured the U.S. with Jimmy Cliff. Up to his death in 1999 Joe continued to tour and record. Do not miss Joe Higgs' "Life Of Contradiction": one of the rare examples that clearly states the powerful of heartfelt music that transcends time. Remember Joe Higgs.

1. Come On Home
2. Got To Make A Way
3. Wake Up And Live
4. Life Of Contradiction
5. Who Brought Down The Curtains
6. There's A Reward
7. Hard Times Don't Bother Me
8. My Baby Still Love Me
9. She Was The One
10. Song My Enemy Sings
11. Let Us Do Something *
12. Freedom Journey *



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mid 1980s - Shanachie - studio - discs: 1

Very little informations are available about this album from Joe Higgs. It seems that this ten set was cut in New York' Green Street Studios, but I did not find any details about the recording date. The set is made mainly of Joe material plus a couple from the Wailers, which also play as the backing band. The musicians are: Aston "Family Man" (bass), Mikey Boo and Dennis "Finger" Morgan (drums), Junior Marvin and Glen Jones (guitar), Tyrone Downey (keyboards), Irwin "Carrot" Jarrett (percussions), Dave McLaren (saxophone), Lee Jaffe (harmonica), Alby Galuten (melodica). Winston "Pipe" Matthews (from the Wailing Souls), Carlos Hislap and Gwen King are the backing vocals. Since Carlton Barret is absent and he was tragically killed on April 17, 1987, we could suppose that this set was recorded after 1987. The type of sounds and arrangements could sustain this theory: the core is Roots but this is not 70's stuff. The ten tracks are: "Blackman Know Yourself", "Oh Carol", "Small Axe", "Sons Of Garvey" (which appeared alredy in Joe "Unity Is Power" album from 1979), "She Was The One" (which previously appeared in the "Life Of Contradiction" album), "Steppin' Razor" (a classic from Peter Tosh), "Saturday Morning", "Wave Of War", "Let Us Do Something" (a single originally cut in 1972) and "Sun Is Shining". Without being particularly impressive this set pays tribute to some Joe own material plus of course Bob Marley. Two gems available.

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yardie-reggae.com - 2007