Carlton and the Shoes: Love Me Forever
From Love Me Forever (Studio 1, 1978)

Heptones: Heptones Gonna Fight
From On Top (Studio 1, 1968). Also on 22 Golden Hits.

One of my favorite fantasies (not involving Italian actresses of the 1970s) is imagining I had infinite time to learn everything worthwhile there is to know about different kinds of music. It’s flattering that people think I’m remotely an expert in anything; I’m not. I know a little about a lot but only a lot about very little and given the ridiculous expansiveness of music, it’s hard to feel like you’re more than a babe in the woods with anything but a tiny handful of styles.

I’m always reminded of this anytime I listen to Jamaican music. There’s much of it I absolutely adore, especially the rocksteady soul tunes of Alton Ellis, but what I know about reggae, ska, dub, etc. amounts to barely anything. Yet, I wish I knew more. I wish I knew what, besides the two songs above, I absolutely should be up on because frankly, that Carlton and the Shoes’ song (which I discovered by hearing a Prince Jazzbo song over the same riddim) is killing me right now and the Heptones’ “Gonna Fight” is similarly making me wonder how I’ve gone nearly 40 years without having heard any of this earlier. (By the way, I read, perhaps erroneously, that this Heptones song is the riddim that Slick Rick flips for “Hey Young World.” I don’t know if I quite hear that but maybe someone else could shed some light.