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Joe Higgs – Unity Is Power – Pressure Sounds Release

unityispowerJoe Higgs – Unity Is Power – Pressure Sounds Release

Joe Higgs is an unsung genius of Jamaican music. Haunting, slightly off the beaten track, inventive, controlled, emotional, intimate and the real deal in only the way a true artist can be.

Many, even the Reggae elite pass him by as the man who taught the Wailers how to Wail; but all it takes is a moment, a moment where you engage with him personally, to convince you once and for all the you have discovered something extremely special. Something to cherish.

Tunes like ‘World is Spinning Around’, or the acapella ‘There’s a Reward’ (on the film Rockers I think it is) will turn you on forever to him and his music.

Pressure Sounds record label are bringing out for the first time the Unity Is Power Lp on the Cd format. Record Labels send me their stuff all the time, for review here and publicity on my online Radio Show and it’s rare I have the time, or have the inclination to spread the word, but when the word is that there’s a new Joe Higgs release due out, be sure that I’ll let you know.

Get it, ….. simple …… as its fabulous. And after you get it, go looking for his Lp ‘Life of Contradiction’, which Pressure Sounds also put out some time ago. Then go and get all the Ska (as Higgs and Wilson) Rocksteady, Early Reggae and Roots tunes you can, you won’t ever be disappointed.

Released – 27/08/2013

p.s. it’s also released on heavyweight vinyl for all you turtablists out there!


One man kutchie
Unity is power
Gold or silver
Love can’t be wrong
Small world
Think of the moment
Sadness is a part of my heart
Sons of Garvey
Invitation to Jamaica (bonus track)
Version (bonus track)

Message Music – Augustus Pablo – Pressure Sounds

Message Music
Augustus Pablo

Why oh why is the track listing in this order, a weak track and the dub as tracks one and two don’t help this get off to a very good start, and then….. Pablo entering the digikal age…. nice, but not earth shaking overall.

There are some tuf tuff tunes here, none of which I’d ever heard and more than a handful got me rocking to and fro in the shed from which I listen and write, it’s stricly a taste thing though, not a quality thing, so I urge you to check out some sound samples and consider a trip to your friendly online Reggae vendor (Hell all the high street ones are all but gone!). Strictly speaking it’s ‘a make your own mind up deal’, personally it’s a hit and sometimes miss affair, but don’t let me put you off… hell what do I know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, unless you’re Jordan of course and then beauty is a long forgotten memory doused by a tidal wave of silicon and the faint whiff of desperation….

Due release on 11/7/2011

Here follow the notes from Pressure Sounds for the release thussly sent as promo to the house of Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio and herwithineth shared with thee…. make up your own mind, but I’m listening to it now and if you loikes yer dub, then this one be for you…

In the 70s Augustus Pablo seemed to appear, like a vision from another world. His music was ethereal, evocative, and unique. There has not really been anyone like him, before or since. His music was deeply meditative, conjuring up all sorts of mystical and exotic images, but imbued with the dignity inherent in his Rastafarian faith. He now stands recognized as Jamaican music’s best-known lead instrumentalist.

By the mid 1980s Pablo had become a lot more ‘visible’, a lot less fashionable and a little of his ‘mystique’ had rubbed off. In the 1970s his own music sold in vast quantities for reggae product and he became a mainstay as an instrumentalist session player on many Jamaican recordings. In tandem with this session work he built a unique catalogue of music for a variety of his own labels such as Rockers, Rockers International, Message and Yard. ‘Message Music’ deals with Pablo’s instrumentals and dubs from around the mid-80s to the 90s as we think it is time to present a re-examination of this slightly overlooked period of his musical output.

As a creator of instrumental music he was often at odds with the spirit of the times, which was for the most part dominated by the sound and agenda of the Jamaican dancehall. That scene did not really suit ethereal instrumentals. Pablo, ever the individual, kept his own productions alive by producing roots vocalists and getting to grips with the new sounds at his disposal. He still played melodica when he felt the inspiration and on tracks such as ‘Missing Link’ and ‘Credential’ are superb ‘digital’ instrumentals. His dubs and and versions where stripped down mixes of his work with vocalists such as Yami Bolo, Junior Delgado and Willie Williams.

Dubs on this set such as ‘Revolution Dub’ the version of Delgado’s song ‘Forward Revolution’ deliver all the sonic force of Pablo’s classic 70s output. The Willie Williams song ‘Credential’ has one of Pablo’s great late period melodica instrumentals on the same rhythm. ‘Credential Instrumental’ is full of feeling and laid back blowing in that classic Pablo style so associated with his best music. Other dubs such as ‘A Java’ and ‘Butter Pon Dem Mouth’ are both re-workings of Pablo’s classic ‘Java’ instrumental. Digital in the best sense of the word. Both versions now back in demand with a younger audience possibly to young to remember the original!!

In essence this album is about an artist coming to terms with the digital or electronic age and still managing to maintain the main ingredient of what his music was all about. With the passing of time it’s time to recheck Pablo’s digital output and learn how he kept alive the inherent ‘message’ in his music. His musical spirit was second to none. A mighty artist and one of the few genuinely original instrumentalists to have emerged since the last golden age of jazz; he kept his musical legacy intact without resorting to gimmicks or becoming lost in what was undoubtedly a difficult time for him as an artist.

We have some rare Pablo photographs from David Corio as well as photographs from the Rockers International archive. Sleevenotes by Pete Holdsworth with 16 tracks spread over a superbly packaged cd or a double vinyl make this an essential album. There will also be 3 beautifully presented 45s taken from the album all especially re-mastered in custom made sleeves. The b sides from the 45s will not be on the album.

Classic music from one of the true greats of Jamaican Instrumental music.

No one who ever met this humble yet diffident character could ever doubt he was the ‘real thing’. He passed in May of 1999 but his music lives on.


A Java Instrumental (Version) – Augustus Pablo
Butter Pon Dem Mouth Version – Augustus Pablo
Ammagiddeon Dub – Augustus Pablo
Missing Link – Augustus Pablo
Missing Link Dub – Augustus Pablo
Credential Instrumental – Augustus Pablo
Culture Rule Dub – Rockers International Band
War Dub – Pablo All Stars
Run Come Yah Version – Augustus Pablo
Kidd Lane Specially – Augustus Pablo & Benbow
Anzania – Blacka Black – Augustus Pablo
Blacka Black Dub – Pablo All Stars
Revolution Dub – Pablo All Stars
Seven Winds From Zion – Augustus Pablo Isis
Addis Rock Dub – Rockers All Stars
Poor Mans Cry Dub – Rockers All Stars

The first commercial record produced and sold in Jamaica


Much dispute arises from the question ‘who was the first producer of Jamaican music on the Island’ but it is now fairly certain that the first commercially available recording to be created by Jamaicans in Jamaica and then to be made available for purchase on the Island was DAN WILLIAMS AND HIS ORCHESTRA – VOCAL LORD FLY    MEDLEY OF JAMAICAN MENTO – FAN ME SOLJA MAN FAN ME, ONE SOLJA MAN, YUH NO YEARY    MRS    SSS.2033X / 01A, this disc was originally released in December of 1950, though discographies record a later date of 1952. (source – ‘Calling all Singers, Musicians and Speechmakers’ 2010 – copyright Daniel T Neely).

Stanley Motta the producer had recorded the songs and then had the records pressed in the UK, possibly by Decca or a Decca subsidiary, records of exactly who manufactured them are unfortunately not forthcoming. Lord Fly the vocalist was known as an upmarket band leader and the songs and the sophisticated arrangements are those favoured by tourists visiting the Island and staying at any one of many luxury hotels there. Motta’s productions are generally recognised as sounding more upmarket, sophisticated and aimed at the visiting tourist than the rougher edged Mento productions of Ivan Chin, or in some cases Kalypso’s Ken Khouri. Khouri, who may have been the first to record on the Island, but not the first to release a commercial recording later developed Federal Records which went on to become the ‘One Stop Shop’ for the Jamaican music industry, offering as it did both as Federal and Dynamic, mastering and pressing facilities as well as recording studios and it’s own productions.

Motta also holds the honour of being the first to licence a recording produced in Jamaica for release in the UK on a UK label, namely Melodisc’s release of The Ticklers ‘Glamour Gal’.

(Thanks to Dan Neely for his help getting the details right!)

More Unity Sounds Coming Up – 7″ Limited Editions Dubplate Mixes

In a strange twist of fate??

Here are some more releases of Unity productions coming out in a week or so, namely a number of 7″ singles, all (as I understand it from someone involved) with Dubplate mixes on.

Honest Jon’s have recently released (2009) an Lp of Unity productions and have also released some 12″ singles off the back of that Lp issue, however the mixes on the 12″s are all exactly as you will find on the Lp, nothing special and nothing a little way different. I understand though that the 7s below are all different as previously un-heard mixes, or unavailable on the Honest Jon’s Lp.

The 7s come from GB distribution who, apparently in a deal agreed with Honest Jon’s were going to release any singles and leave H.J’s to release the ‘Watch How The People  Dancing’  album, except post this agreement Honest Jon’s beat them to it by releasing these 12″ singles, taken directly from the Lp.

That’s how I heard it anyway, if you know different, let me know. In the meantime, don’t take me to court, It’s only as I’ve heard the story, not as I know it to be.

Here are those Unity 7″s you can get hold of.







If you’re interested to find them, one place you can source them from is here -My mate Phil Etgart, I’ve bought from him in the past, so you can do so with confidence.

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