Heptones Gonna Fight Riddim
One of the bigger riddims is the “Heptones Gonna Fight” aka “Fight It To The Top”. As soon as you start checking into the origins of Reggae riddims it doesn’t take long to realise the great influence the Heptones, and in particular Leroy Sibbles’ bass playing, has had over the music. Leroy’s singing and songwriting has received much praise over the years, but his bass playing on hit after hit at Studio One – for his own group and for many other artists – has been for some reason overshadowed.
So far Coxsone has given us 4 versions of “Heptones Gonna Fight”. “Hail Don D” an instrumental from the Sound Dimension. Then around ’79 came a magnificent DJ tune from Michigan & Smiley – “Time To Be Happy”. In the mid-’80s came two more vocal cuts, one from the great Earl Sixteen, whose “Love Is A Feeling” is after a few years considered to be a classic. Likewise with Barry Brown’s “Give Love”, which is another fine song from a singer who must one day get the kind of success that he truly deserves.
Outside Studio One
Outside Studio One, the song has provided inspiration for a wide range of producers. Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee recut it for Prince Jazzbo’s “Virgin”, found on his first album “Kick Boy Face”. “Black Sabbath” is an instrumental cut from the Revolutionaries, produced by Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Hoo Kim for Channel One.
Yet it wasn’t until the early ’80s that the riddim really became popular. One of the best recuts from that time came from the then emerging Michael Prophet, who had just teamed up with singer/producer Yabby You. Yabby is not really known for recutting riddims, but when he does recut – like Lee Perry – he also likes to add quite a bit. “Fight It To The Top” is such a recut, from a fantastic set.
A few years on it was the turn of Carlton Livingston to come forward. And he did so with the help of producer Clive Jarrett. “Lonely Man” is a very good example of Carlton’s singing style taken from an excellent set, “Trodding Through The Jungle”. It was a shame that at least two other LP’s from Carlton came out at the same time.
DJ cuts were also very popular, well worth checking out are “Guns Outa Hand” from Welton Irie, “Here We Go Again” another cut from Michigan & Smiley found on their really good RAS LP “Sugar Daddy”, “Cleanliness” from Ringo for Tommy Cowan and “Health And Strength” also from Ringo this time for Niney, when he was running Channel One.
Without doubt the best DJ cuts must be Lone Ranger’s “Johnny Make You Bad So”, which uses Clive Jarrett’s cut of the riddim first heard on Carlton Livingston’s “Lonely Man”. Ranger in the true spirit of the dance hall virtually sings his tune in places, it’s that good!
(Source: Ray Hurford & Jean Scrivener’s “Rhythm Wise One & Two”)
Selected tunes from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s & ’90s :
The Heptones – Heptones Gonna Fight
Sound Dimension – Hail Don D
Prince Jazzbo – Virgin
Revolutionaries – Black Sabbath
Barry Brown – Give Love
Carlton Livingston – Lonely Man
Dillinger – Stop The War
Earl Sixteen – Dancehall Queen
Earl Sixteen – Love Is A Feeling
Early B – Sleep And Drive
Garnett Silk – Kingly Character
Glen Ricks – Closer Together
Hugh Griffiths – Tender Touch
Josey Wales – Love I Can Feel
Junior Reid – Cross Over The Border
Lee Van Cleef – Sister Fay
Leroy Sibbles – Leroy’s Gonna Fight
Little John – I Love You Jah Jah
Lone Ranger – Johnny Make You Bad So
Michael Prophet – Fight It To The Top
Michael Prophet – Step Right In
Michigan & Smiley – Here We Go Again
Michigan & Smiley – Time To Be Happy
Peter Metro & Squiddley Ranking – Warn Them Teach Them
Phillip Fraser – Just A Dream
Pinchers – What’s To Be
Ringo – Cleanliness
Ringo – Health And Strength
Ringo – Nice And Easy
Sammy Dread – What’s Going On
Sister Ester & Papa Sugar – Waiting For Your Love
Sister Nancy – Roof Over My Head
Sluggy – Heart Breaker
Sugar Minott – It’s Allright
Taxi Gang – Outside Right
Tony Tuff – Jam It Again
Trinity – Lively Tribulation
Welton Irie – Guns Outa Hand
Winston Jarrett & Righteous Flames – On Top
Yellowman & Fathead – Life Story
Yellowman & Fathead – Ribit Bebo