Search - Joe Higgs :: Life of Contradiction

Life of Contradiction
Joe Higgs
Life of Contradiction
Genres: World Music, Pop


CD Details

All Artists: Joe Higgs
Title: Life of Contradiction
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Macola Records
Release Date: 10/3/1995
Genres: World Music, Pop
Style: Reggae
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 019041118926

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CD Reviews

Great songs, great singing and great playing
mroberts | Boston, MA | 02/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Joe Higgs moved to Los Angeles in the 80s, so I was lucky to see him perform in San Francisco, West L.A. and Topanga Canyon (!! - there was a reggae festival at the outdoor Shakespearean Theater - the Will Geer Theatrical Botanicum) before he passed away in 1999. Very lucky. For those not in the know, he was born in 1940 in Jamaica (grew up in Kingston's Trenchtown) and mentored the Wailers while they were learning their stuff. He also did a tour with them when Bunny Wailer backed out - you can hear him playing percussion, and a little background vox on the Talkin' Blues cd. Later he toured with Jimmy Cliff (cd: In Concert: The Best of Jimmy Cliff - you just hear a little of him singing). There are also early versions of some of these songs, and a couple others, on scattered compilations of 60s reggae/ska/rocksteady.

Anyway, the original album is made up of songs 3 - 12, (and not in that order, unfortunately), and has some of reggae's best songwriting, singing and playing on it. A couple of the tracks sound like the source tape wasn't in the greatest shape, but what can you do... Here is the original song order:

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
Song My Enemy Sings

Joe Higgs really payed attention to the craft of songwriting and didn't just walk into the studio to use whatever rhythms the producer threw his way -- he came with his own songs (not just the lyrics). And he was a very soulful singer with a deep and warm voice. Also, the band's performance is somewhat unique in reggae. They had room to stretch out, meaning they didn't have to stick to repeating the same lick over and over, and while there are practically no solos, they play with great taste and feel. He only has a few albums (2 that are unavailable on cd to this day), but this is easily his best. (Although, Unity Is Power, Triumph, Family and Blackman Know Yourself are all pretty good. But Unity Is Power is a rare LP and Triumph is only available on LP from specialty shops - I saw copies of it at Ameoba in Berkeley, CA. I have an old cassette!)

This is one of the most special albums for me - I don't play it often because I don't want to wear myself out on it. I save it for special occassions when I can really play it loud and sing along.

(FWIW, I'm a huge roots reggae and heavy dub fan and have a couple hundred discs, from the obvious to the obscure, and have branched out, mostly backwards in time, to ska and especially to the sweet vibes of rocksteady.)"
A Real Gem
James Wax | San Diego, CA | 03/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This classic first release from reggae great Joe Higgs has finally been reissued. It was previously available only as an international release. Upon first listen, I immediately noticed a marked improvement in sound quality.

For those unfamiliar with the music, it is roots reggae at its best. The songs' melodies are memorable and the message is eternal. But what makes this album truly special? The vocals. Higgs' voice rings with true feeling and a rare sincerity that transform this album from enjoyable to inspiring.

The whole album is solid, but standout tracks include:
Got to Make a Way
Life of Contradiction
Hard Times Don't Bother Me
There's a Reward

Absent is "More Slavery" and several other tracks, including the dub versions, all of which are present on the international release. I believe this is a faithful reproduction of the album in its original form, but "More Slavery" is a great track and is sadly missed. Still, the core of the album is present and I cannot recommend it enough."
100% Crucial Reggae
Art | 05/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is the original album, in the original sequence, remastered and sounding great. The liner notes are informative and insightful.

This album is a 100% no-brainer essential for any fan of classic reggae. This belongs of the very short list of all-time classic roots LPs, in a genre where most albums are just collections of singles with one or two classic tracks.

If you like...

"Heart of the Congos" (The Congos)
"Satta Massagana" (The Abyssinians)
"Mr. Isaacs" (Gregory Isaacs)
"Man in the Hills" (Burning Spear)
"Sunday Coming" (Alton Ellis)
"Song Book" (Bob Andy)

... then you need to hear this album. It's distinctive and memorable, combining intelligent songwriting with musical sophistication. Like Bob Andy, Joe Higgs is one of the (mostly) unappreciated geniuses of reggae, and this is his masterpiece. Why are you still reading this? Just buy it already!

PS: Search for Joe Higgs on Youtube to see him singing his classic "There's a Reward".