Album review
Love Me Forever
Carlton & The Shoes
Studio One

Tracking list

  1. Love Me Forever
  2. Never Give Your Heart Away
  3. Love Is All
  4. Sincerely Yours
  5. Just Me
  6. This Feeling
  7. I've Got Soul
  8. Love To Share
  9. Me And You
  10. Forward Jerusalem
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4

"Love Me Forever", the one and only LP from the peerless vocal harmony trio Carlton & His Shoes, definitely belongs to one of those Studio One albums that fans have been awaiting for a long time to be released in digital clarity. Initially Carlton & His Shoes consisted of songwriter/leadsinger Carlton Manning and his brothers Donald and Lynford, who were responsible for the crystalline harmonies. The trio recorded their debut single for Sonia Pottinger, but this effort failed to make a serious impact. Then they started to record for Coxsone Dodd who unleashed their first single, "Love Me Forever"/"Happy Land" in early 1968 on the "Supreme" label. These songs showed both sides of the trio. "Love Me Forever" dealt with Matters of the heart, while "Happy Land", on the other hand, expressed their cultural side and became one of the most versioned riddims as it became known as the template for the Abyssinians' roots killer "Satta Massa Gana".
"Love Me Forever" originally appeared on Peckings' "Studio One" label in 1976 and since then this classic set has been re-released in a variety of sonic formulations. The album covers not just rocksteady, but also the first years of reggae as it spans the period 1967-1975. Now here's the CD, which comes in pristine mono, without overdubs, and features the original set. This implies that no extra tracks are included which truly may be regretted as the inclusion of "Happy Land" and "Let Me Love You" would have completed the story of Carlton Manning at Studio One. But nevertheless "Love Me Forever" is an absolutely essential re-issue and highly recommended for lovers of sweet harmonies and original Jamaican love songs.

Teacher & Mr. T.