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on 24 February 2008
This seminal album has already had a great write-up in MOJO and rightly so it is in my opinion the greatest reggae album (as opposed to compilation) of all time. Joe Higgs was one of the few under-recorded artists in reggae, more is the pity if this is the quality of work he was capable of. This CD is packaged beautifully by the supreme "Pressure Sounds" reggae reissue label sensibly using the same evocative album cover as the original 1975 issue. The sound quality is good, infinitely better than the early 90's semi-legitimate Micron issue and the liner notes are fantastic providing the full fascinating history of the genesis of this masterpiece (it was actually recorded in 1972 for Island Records but Chris Blackwell thought there would be no market for it {!} and it took 3 years for Joe to reclaim the mastertapes and release them). The songs themselves are uniformly beautiful with Joe's dusky, wise, richly soulful vocals riding the rhythms in stunning fashion, great lyrics too portraying valuable lessons from a hard life. The album is pretty short running just over 30 minutes and the running time is padded out with two bonus tracks "Let Us Do Something" (brilliant) and its instrumental rhythm. The one possible slight criticism is that the running time could have been padded out slightly more with some of the (apparently stunning) tracks mentioned in the liner notes such as "Wave Of War", "World Upside Down" and the monumental "More Slavery" (Higgs' own take on Burning Spear's "Slavery Days" but with his own [better] lyrics, this can be found on the 'Simply Reggae' compilation by Union Square and it is worth it for this one track alone!). Perhaps licensing issues prevented this from happening but it is a shame and perhaps an opportunity missed though it is churlish to complain considering what IS here. In conclusion this is a must for anyone with even a peripheral interest in reggae, you'll not regret it!
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on 18 April 2008
Definitely the reissue of the year for me so far. This is a timeless, deeply soulful, uplifting and natural sounding album.

Should have a wide appeal for non-reggae fans too, there are no dubs, effects or guitar solos and crosses many musical genres.

If you like Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On", dive straight in, it's that good...
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on 23 July 2010
Joe Higgs - half of pioneering duo Higgs & Wilson, mentor and tutor to the Wailers, of which he was briefly a member in the seventies - and creator of this truly excellent album which seems to be highly recommended in all the major reggae literature, but which up until now has been extremely hard to get hold of.
Pressure Sounds have done their usual excellent job with presentation - excellent sound quality, lovely packaging, and the music does indeed merit this lavish attention. It was originally recorded for Chris Blackwell in 1972 but languished until its release by the Micron label in 1975. Joe is backed by the Now Generation band plus jazz guitarist Eric Gale, and the sound is pleasantly jazz-tinged and melodic, with excellent lyrics in both cultural and lover's styles and including some remakes of earlier material. The CD features two bonus tracks as an added enticement but this set is a rare and very welcome opportunity to hear one of Jamaica's truly unsung heroes. A classic, and totally recommended, of course...
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on 16 January 2016
Life Of Contradiction -- Pressure Sounds ‎– PSCD 58
The Wailer's singing and music business teacher releases a Classic era Reggae LP like no other, with song arrangements around piano, acoustic and electric, guitar, bass and drums and Joe's emotional singing.Almost like Bill Withers in a way.
1 Come On Home 3:02
2 Got To Take A Way 2:36
3 Wake Up And Live 2:42
4 Life Of Contradiction 3:35
5 Who Brought Down The Curtains 3:09
6 There's A Reward 4:11
7 Hard Times Don't Bother Me 3:30
8 My Baby Still Loves Me 3:28
9 She Was The One 3:41
10 Song My Enemy Sings 4:12
11 Let Us Do Something 3:40 (bonus track)
12 Karl Masters + Joe Higgs Freedom Journey 2:58 (bonus track)

Musicians include:
Bass – Val Douglas
Drums – Mickey "Boo" Richards
Keys – Earl "Wire" Lindo, Robbie Lynn
Guitar – Eric Gale, Mikey Chung, Geofrey Chung, Joe Higgs
Engineer/Producer -- Sylvan Morris, Joe Higgs, Mike Johnston
Studio -- Harry J's (JA)

Sound mastering is very good to excellent.

The previous issue of this CD is on Lagoon but the sound mastering is not up to scratch bar for the bonus non LP tracks, namely:
1. More Slavery (+ Dub) (a Joe Higgs sequel to Burning Spear - Slavery Days)
2. Ram Bam Bam (+ Dub)
3. Sincerely (+ Dub)

which are well worth seeking out, see:

With a similar team involved with Pete Tosh - Negril LP:
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on 6 March 2002
this is higgs at his very best.containing some deeply moveing also demonstrates his unique vocals.the pace is unhurried.the mood relaxed.a must have album.
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on 9 June 2011
I really love this album, but this is not THE joe Higgs album you should own. Try looking for Unity is Power. Out of press, but worth the search!
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on 4 September 2014
Could and do listen to this all day.

Like a cold drink on a hot day - refreshing.
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