Joe Higgs Life Of Contradiction

Higgs is best known as the vocal tutor of the early Wailers; he even toured with them during their first visit to the U.S. This unique album shows him in a profoundly soulful mood. These are full-fledged songs where the words and music are written together singer-songwriter style, as opposed to the predominant Jamaican technique of a vocalist overdubbing an existing rhythm. The Now Generation provide excellent grooves though and are augmented by ace New York session guitarist Eric Gale. His jazzy chops, so distinctive on soul recordings of the time, add a new dimension to this Jamaican R&B sound. Higgs’s lyrics are contemplative and wise; his restrained delivery gives the impression of someone much older than he actually was at the time. As a set of songs, this has few equals in the annals of Jamaican music. Strangely though, given his reputation as a singer’s singer, his vocal tone isn’t anything special, even if his delivery is the very incarnation of soul. (Pressure Sounds)