Well-respected Jamaican singer and songwriter Joe Higgs died in the late 90s, but his legacy lives on through various reissues of his excellent material. Now – however – comes a previously unreleased album from this singer who mentored Bob Marley and who was instrumental in creating the sound of The Wailers in the 60s.
Godfather of Reggae collects Joe Higgs’ last recordings. It was recorded in 1997 and 1998 in Ireland and Jamaica and it sees Joe Higgs collaborating with Irish folk musician Donal Lunny and Irish band the Hothouse Flowers. They were joined in Jamaica by Wayne Jobson from the band Native and drummer Max Hinds, son of Justin Hinds, another reggae legend.
This is an unusual and extraordinary album containing both violins and harmonica. It’s stylistically varied, yet never losing its focus. Godfather of Reggae offers a rousing mix of reggae, Irish folk music, soul, pop and blues and showcases Joe Higgs’ rich and passionate voice.
Highlights include the naked Caution with its urgent backing vocals, the countrified And It Stoned Me and the uplifting You Don’t Have to See Me with its catchy saxophone solo.
Melancholic, yet positive, and best described as an astonishing slice of alternative reggae.