Joy and Blues (1993, Virgin)
Released almost four years after One Bright Day, the Melody Maker's sixth album reflected their growing confidence and artistic maturity. The album leads off with the title track, a Ziggy and Stephen composition that implores the listener to "choose well" in the struggle of life, a theme neatly encapsulated by the cover art, a stark depiction of a Janus-faced African mask. The bright, anthemic "Brothers and Sisters" follows, a timely call for unity in a world of increasing racial polarization.
The third track is a cover of "Stand Alone" from the Wailer's African Herbsman LP. Re-titled "There She Goes", the lead vocals are beautifully rendered by Ziggy in one of his strongest, most self-assured performances to date. On the next track, "Talk", Ziggy revisits territory visited by his father's "So Much Things To Say" with his caustic observation: "Them chatty mouth a bark"...Brother Stephen then exhibits his own songwriting skills on "Rebel in Disguise". The following track, "X Ma! rks the Spot", name checks Malcolm and his struggle against a White Racist Mentality over a propulsive rhythm.
Next, on the ebullient "Head Top", the Melody Makers remind us that, "when the music hit you feel no pain". The second cover version on the record follows, the Richie Havens composition African Herbsman, also sung by Bob on the album of the same name. Stephen here displays his growing vocal prowess. "World So Corrupt" and "Garden" follow, the latter one of Ziggy's most accomplished compositions to date. Stephen's "Mama" is next with Rita on backing vocals and the great Dean Smith on sax. The album concludes with "This One", a song about faith and struggle.
Click on any song title to go to its description page. Songs with sound icons have downloadable sound samples.
1. Joy And Blues 2. Brothers And Sisters 3. There She Goes 4. Talk 5. Rebel In Disguise 6. X Marks The Spot 7. Head Top 8. African Herbsman 9. World So Corrupt 10. Garden 11. Mama 12. This One
Produced by the Melody Makers
This album is livicated to Mama
To lift your eyes to heaven
When all men's eyes are on the ground
Is not easy
To worship at the feet of the angels
When all men worship only fame and riches
Is not easy
But the most difficult of all
Is to think the thoughts of the angels
To speak the words of the angels
And to do as the angels do...