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Joe Higgs' Life Of Contradiction

Joe Higgs' Life Of Contradiction

Joe Higgs' Life Of Contradiction

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UK Pressure Sounds label reissues Joe Higgs debut album Life Of Contradiction originally released in 1975.

Sampler

Joe Higgs - Life Of ContradictionPressure Sounds have brought many of reggae’s key figures to a wider audience in recent years (the producer Tommy Cowan and singer Bim Sherman to name just two) and now they’re doing it again with Joe Higgs’ highly conceptual 1975 album, Life Of Contradiction.

Unlike past reissues on Lagoon, Macola, and Esoldun, the Pressure Sounds release reverts to the original track listing, adding just two extras (CD format only) - 'Let Us Do Something' and its instru-version, a collaboration with trombonist Karl Masters, 'Freedom Journey'. The label has also remastered the source recordings for a higher level of quality and a warmer, more bass-heavy sound.

Produced by Mike Johnston and Higgs, and featuring the musical chops of the Now Generation band with jazz guitarist Eric Gale, Life Of Contradiction is a collection of both re-cuts of old hits ('Change Of Plan', re-titled as 'Come On Home', and the peaceable yet defiant 'There’s a Reward' which makes use of the central motif from slave spiritual 'Sometimes I Feel') and newer, equally impressive compositions. These include the driving, soulful beats of 'Who Brought Down The Curtains', 'She Was The One For Me' and the title song, as well as more easy-going numbers such as 'Wake Up And Live', 'Hard Times Don’t Bother Me' and 'Song My Enemy Sings'. Usually additional tracks (however welcome) feel distinct from the main body of music; here the bonus material sits perfectly with the rest, giving a more positive conclusion to the record’s arc.

Higgs proves himself as one of Jamaica’s most gifted songwriters and lyricists, creating a wide spectrum of moods that chart the grey areas between the upbeat frivolity and dark angry protest of his contemporaries. The range of non-reggae influences in the music is startling, including elements of jazz, country, soul and even rock, resulting in one of the most crafted and complete albums you are likely to hear.

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