-By Lancelot Stanbury
Dec 31, 1994
The Southern California reggae fans received a fascinating
awakening when CEC Promotions brought four of the reggae island's top performers on stage for the "Ragga Fest" at
the Veterans Auditorium in Culver City. This haughty package featured "The Silky Smooth" Freddie McGregor, "The Legendary"
Daddy U-Roy, "Rude Boy" Cutty Ranks, and "Reggae Royalty," Marcia Higgs.
This lovely and very talented sister, is the daughter
of the "Father Of Reggae," Joe Higgs, so there is no question as to where she generated all her musical expertise from.
She received roaring applause and standing ovation as she performed some crucial tracks from her King Jammy's collection.
Opening with the catchy "Party Time," she immediately
moved the audience to their feet. She then performed some of her own compositions such as "Down In The Ghetto" (my favorite),
"Chant Down Oppression," "Poverty Haffi Done,"and "Wicked," to name a few.
In the midst of her performance she asked the very attentive
audience, "Do y'all want to hear a secret?" After a resounding "yes" she walked front stage, leaned
slightly forward, and in sort of a whispering tone replied, "If it was for the love of fame and fortune,
I personally would not be here tonight, but it's for the love of my people!" For a few minutes
well, there was no stopping this crowd's lengthy and rather emotional applause.
Marcia Higgs is certainly no stranger to the reggae music
industry, whether she appears as a singer, background vocalist or DJ. "I may not be popular with the masses, but that
is by choice. Nothing thrills me more than to stand in the audience and listen to the people's comments, which are
not always nice, but for the most part, I've heard some good reviews." she said. Then I dared her to share with me
at least one of the not so nice comments she had heard, and with a broad smile, she quickly replied, "That I'm flamboyant,
and that could not be farther from MY truth. I love to dress nicely, and who don't? I love to wear a little
jewelry, and who don't? I love to be classy, which only a fool would not. Am I Reserved? Well, that's a fact.
But "Flamboyant"? Definitely not!"
When I asked if there was anything else she would like the
reggae fans to know about her, she replied, "That I am really cool, calm and collected. That
as a person I really do demand respect, so therefore, I am inclined to give it first. But after I give my respect, if
a guy or a girl refuses to reciprocate? Then I really don't need that person, irrespective of who they may
think they are. Bottomline is, I am authentic...I'm never synthetic. I tell it like I see it, and if being real makes
me flamboyant? Then what can I say? Luv you an luv di fans dem, zeen? Peace!"
I could only say... WOW...glad I caught that on tape!
* * *
The REGGAE BEAT
-by Michael Turner
In reviewing records for the BEAT,
my purpose is not to show how clearly I can critcize lousy music, but to direct attention to the more worthy stuff. For example,
in this review, I rave about LIEUTENANT STITCHIE, SISTER HIGGS, and GEM
MYERS. Names unfamiliar to most, but not deserving obscurity. I'll rate the records on a scale of zero to four
* * * *stars...
HIGGS & TWINS, "DOWN IN THE GHETTO"
Four * * * * Stars
A new name to me, and if this is indeed a
debut, it is an astonishing one, with lyrics that should be printed on the sleeve. A song about the sufferah, with "no
food to eat, no money to spend, nothing to borrow nor lend." But more than that, a song about overcoming adversity,
not through mystical transcendence ( as in somewhere over "River Jordan") but through "Right Living." Ultimately, this becomes
a song about real pride, (not boasting) with a bouncy computer beat and great singing without the slightest pop inflection.
Nuff respect is due to the conscious, SISTER HIGGS!
HIGGS & TWINS, "POVERTY HAFFI DONE"
Four * * * * Stars
Unlike such other famous sons
and daughters as the Melody Makers, Andrew Tosh, or 54-46,
JOE HIGGS' kids have started their careers in relative anonymity. Their music also indicates a wish
to avoid the show-biz glitz, with MARCIA concentrating on intelligent reasoning lyrics, drawn from
personal experience. Roots artists often prosper in the U.S., even when bypassed by their local audience. It would be nice
if "HIGGS & TWINS" could find a niche in the United States!
* * *
DID YOU KNOW?
In 1988, Jamaica's top Radio DJ "Barry G" dubbed
Lieutenant Stitchie and Sister Marcia Higgs the "Most Intelligent"
male and female DJ's? "For the record, both artists gave up their teaching professions for musical careers," he said.
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