Life Of Contradiction
Joe Higgs
Pressure Sounds
January 20, 2008

Joe Higgs Track list
  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 Loves Me
  9. She Was The One
  10. Song My Enemy Sings
  11. Let Us Do Something
  12. Freedom Journey feat. Karl Masters
Rate this album!
Cast your vote below.

Essential -Votes: 3-
Very Good -Votes: 1-
Good -Votes: 2-
Average -Votes: 3-
Disappointing -Votes: 1-
A Waste Of Time -Votes: 0-

Total votes : 10
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 3/4 Production : 3/4 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 3
Born in Kingston in 1940, Higgs' career began as a songwriter for seminal reggae acts such as Toots and the Maytals and Delroy Wilson. While establishing himself as an in-demand songwriter, Higgs was also developing a solo vocal career as well as working as a high school music teacher. The role of teacher suited Higgs and he was soon working regularly as a vocal arranger and coach as well as guitar instructor. The most famous of his pupils was Bob Marley.

Higgs was the very first artist out the ghetto music scene to have lyrics which primarily dealt with every day troubles. In his own words, "the music originated from the confrontation of the struggle... It's not even going to be known as the Jah from Trenchtown. It is the kind of strength that you have to accumulate. Reggae is the confrontation of the soul, man. Reggae has to have a basic vibrant song which is... to be heard in a ghetto is like playin' the bass very loud and the drum. Those harbor the basic songs. A classical reggae should be accepted in a part of the world in the same sense; freedom, that's what it's askin' for; acceptance, that's what it means. An understanding. That's what the reggae says."

It wasn't until 1975 that he released his first solo album, "Life Of Contradiction", a title that accurately summarized Higgs' career up to that point. The album was originally recorded under the auspices of Chris Blackwell for Island Records in 1972. In 1995 the album was released once more with nuff dubs and bonus tracks. Higgs passed away in 1999.

Some 33 years later the debut album of Joe Higgs is re-released again by Pressure Sounds. The tracks which where added in the 1995 release have disappeared again. So this re-release starts of with Come On Home again. The early reggae sound is really recognizable. Got To Make A Way still has a nice vibe to it. The first time you will play this album it probably won't blow you away, but be patient... the old vibe grows on you. The sharp melodies of Life Of Contradiction and Who Brought Down The Curtain still sound very good. There's A Reward has a solid vocal combined with a nice background. My Baby Still Loves Me is one of the finest tunes on the album. Other tracks worthwhile listening are: She Was The One, Let Us Do Something. The cd features two bonus tunes. Let Us Do Something and its instrumental counterpart Freedom Journey from Joe and Karl Masters.

The album was produced by Mike Johnston & Joe Higgs. Musicians involved were :
  • Vocals : Joe Higgs
  • Drums : Mikey Boo Richards
  • Bass : Val Douglas
  • Lead Guitar : Eric Gale
  • Rhythm Guitar : Michael Chung
  • Piano : Wire Lindo
All in all a nice re-release and a must have for the hardcore reggae fan.