Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
An Underrated Genius
home-body | northern california,usa | 09/15/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Late Great" Joe Higgs was the Grandfather of reggae music. During the mid-60s he taught The Wailers,(among many others) how to sing and harmonize. His influence can be heard in the vocal styles of all three original Wailers; Bob, Peter, and Bunny. He actually became a Wailer for a brief period during the early 70's. When Bunny Wailer no longer wanted to travel, Joe was asked to fill in for the rest of the Wailer's tour. Released in 1988, "Family" displays Joe Higg's mastery of meaningful lyrics, beautiful harmony, and wonderful vocal style.This is a classic reggae album that holds its own even without the mention of Jah or any kind of Rasta posturing. The album includes new compositions as well as a couple of "do- overs" taken from the earlier part of Joe's recording career. Although most of the songs on "Family" are pure reggae there are a few songs that incorporate musical influences from Africa, America and other parts of the Caribbean. The classic reggae songs work best here. However songs such as "African-Can," which incorporates an African rhythm while delivering an empowering message sounds awesome too. One of the key songs captured here is "Mother Radio" which takes on the topic of people who gossip about others. Joe captures the absurdity of gossip when he sings, "She tell me said, that Fred said, hear somebody said, Mr. Brown ah wet his bed."Probably my favorite song on this album is the reworking of one of Joe's older songs, "There's a Reward." One can hear the sorrow in his heart when he sings, "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, no one cares for me, I've never known sympathy." Despite his sorrow, the song has an uplifting message which can be heard when he sings, "I shall not give up so easily, there's a reward for me." Incidentally, a beautiful unaccompanied acoustic rendition of this song can be found on the 1977 video, "Roots, Rock, Reggae." The only weak song on "Family" is Joe's rendition of the traditional Banana Boat Song, "Day O" The synthesizer and drum machine probably sounded great in 1987 but this style of production sounds very "cheesy" and outdated today. With all of his talent one wonders why another original song wasn't included instead of this one. That aside, "Family" is a great album to have and listen to. Since he only released about 5 albums in his 40 year career it is important to collect any Joe Higgs albums that you can find. (I think only 3 are available on CD). "Family" is like a historical document made specifially for the rest of eternity to appreciate. And when you listen to it you'll be reminded why people say Joe Higgs is the "Grandfather of Reggae" and an underrated genius.Respect!-Mark "Homebody" Groesbeck"
One killer, some filler
home-body | 04/29/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"One of reggae's original legends, Joe Higgs always stood in the shadow of other artist. His forth album, "Family", shows what a wonderful singer he was. Some of the songs on this album are fillers, but "Upside down" is definitely one of THE great reggae songs of all time."