by: Jarret Lovell
Joe Higgs - Godfather of Reggae - (Jobby LLC)
Joe Higgs is a name that isn't too familiar to casual reggae music lovers. His sound leans heavily acoustic, without the strong bass that produces recognizable "riddims" and without the quirky personality that characterized some artists like Lee Perry. But Higgs' hand in reggae is an important one. The Jamaican Observer notes that "[alt]hough Higgs established himself as a writer with songs like his 'There's a Reward' and Peter Tosh's 'Stepping Razor', he is best remembered as a mentor to acts like The Wailers (which included Tosh, Bob Marley and Bunny Livingston) and Jimmy Cliff." Here, this collection of 14 songs marks the last recordings by Higgs, released on what would have been his 75th birthday. The songs continue in his acoustic vibe. Try track #8 "It Stoned Me" with a nice horn section. A mellow cd.
Dawn Penn - "No No No" - (Big Beat)
Type Dawn Penn's song "No No No" into a search engine with the query "who sampled..." and there's no telling how many different responses you'll get. Of course, in the early days of reggae the studios owned the riddims, not the artist, so any number of songs could have the same riddim as Dawn Penn's classic song. But even with this qualifier, there's no doubt that "No No No" is one of the most sampled reggae songs in history, and it has been remixed, and covered, and played perhaps more than any other song outside of the Bob Marley catalog. Yet few people have bothered to explore the artist behind the song beyond the hit single. Now's your chance. Here are 11 Dawn Penn songs, along with the 2 versions of the famous cut (#3 is the extended mix; #13 is the remix). Venture away from the single, if you can. Track #4 "Night and Day" has a nice, slow riddim. Some venture on R&B. This cimpilation was originally released in 1999.