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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joe Who?
Despite a career spanning over 30 years I'd never heard of him. Then this album popped up on my radar. He began as a songwriter for Toots & the Maytalls and Delroy Wilson. He was a music teacher and one of his pupils was Bob Marley. Joe Higgs probably had more influence over arguably the most famous reggae artist of all time than anyone else.

This album dates...
Published 13 months ago by A. Owen

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3-and-a-half stars - Joe Higgs patchy 2nd album from 1978.....
The excellent Pressure Sounds reggae revive label has reissued Joe Higgs 1978 album; "Unity Is Power" a few years after their magnificent reissue of Higgs' classic debut album; "Life Of Contradiction". This is a largely welcome development even though the "Unity Is Power" LP is not a patch on Higgs' debut platter being much more eclectic and 'mellow' than his 1st album...
Published 14 months ago by TCH


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3-and-a-half stars - Joe Higgs patchy 2nd album from 1978....., 31 Aug 2013
By 
TCH (Cambs, UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Unity Is Power (Audio CD)
The excellent Pressure Sounds reggae revive label has reissued Joe Higgs 1978 album; "Unity Is Power" a few years after their magnificent reissue of Higgs' classic debut album; "Life Of Contradiction". This is a largely welcome development even though the "Unity Is Power" LP is not a patch on Higgs' debut platter being much more eclectic and 'mellow' than his 1st album. Higgs is a brilliant singer, probably most famous for teaching Marley and the Wailers to sing and harmonise, and plenty of that is in evidence here with his distinctive soulful yet world weary tone. However this LP doesn't maintain a consistent tone which leads to an uneven listening experience......

Only four tracks on the CD are strictly roots and culture based including the superior "One Man Kutchie" and the solid "Gold or Silver" however "Sons Of Garvey" is merely OK being somewhat overwhelmed by the backing singers (trying to do an "I-Threes" thing I guess?) and the title track which isn't even reggae being more a convention R&B song (albeit beautifully sung).

The remainder of the tracks are lovers based and these songs include the superb lead-off track; "Devotion" and the fantastic; "Vineyard" (best track on the LP) but also the lesser non-reggae R&B-based "Love Can't Be Wrong" which sounds like late-70's Jimmy Cliff was an influence and the misfiring jazz-based "Small World" and "Sadness Is A Part Of My Heart" which are probably the weakest tracks on the original LP with each having a parping trumpet mirroring the main vocal-line.

I feel a bit churlish criticising this album since Higgs' singing is so stellar it almost makes up for the subpar song-writing and production on half of the tracks but overall it clearly isn't up to the level of his classic debut. Furthermore the bonus tracks are seriously subpar being the calypso-based "Invitation To Jamaica" and its dub-version which could come from a cheesy late-70's TV commercial for a Jamaican package holiday --- not good at all and demeaning to all involved. It'd have been much better if Pressure Sounds had left out these two "bonuses" entirely or even better replaced them with the stellar tracks mentioned in the "Life Of Contradiction" liner notes such as "More Slavery", "The Wave Of War", "World Upside Down", etc.

Therefore a worthwhile reissue but one with caveats in that the source material is patchy despite the brilliant qualities of Higgs' singing so I think 3-and-a-half stars is fair, perhaps decreasing to 3-stars if you really have an aversion to the four non-reggae tracks and the really pretty awful bonus tracks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joe Who?, 28 Sep 2013
By 
A. Owen "anthonymowen" (Orpington, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Unity Is Power (Audio CD)
Despite a career spanning over 30 years I'd never heard of him. Then this album popped up on my radar. He began as a songwriter for Toots & the Maytalls and Delroy Wilson. He was a music teacher and one of his pupils was Bob Marley. Joe Higgs probably had more influence over arguably the most famous reggae artist of all time than anyone else.

This album dates back to 1979 but has had a recent reissue. Joe Higgs has a very pleasant rich baritone voice and this album covers many bases of reggae and ska. It shows a very talented singer, songwriter, arranger and innovator and is a very fine album. I am delighted to have discovered it and strongly recommend a listen. On a sunny summer afternoon there can hardly be a better soundtrack.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love it Love it, 9 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Unity Is Power (Audio CD)
This guy always touches my heart with his lyrics, and this has done the same I am so glad I saw it and it is now in my collection. RIP JH...One of the best......
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5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 8 Jan 2014
This review is from: Unity Is Power [VINYL] (Vinyl)
I have this album and Higg's first, Life of Contradiction. Both are great and different from one another. Get both!
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