“In 1972 I was 16 years old, and although I was still at school I had two paper rounds and a Saturday job which provided money for going out, clothes, and most importantly, records.

While all but a couple of friends had unceremoniously ditched reggae as their music of choice I had already made the step up from buying UK releases on Trojan and Pama’s labels to buying ‘pre-release’, 7” 45 rpm records that were freshly imported from Jamaica. The latest sounds with wildly exotic label designs or mysterious, rubber stamped white labels.

Sometimes these tunes would take months to be released over here, and now and again there would be a record which didn’t get released at all, adding to the value – and the exclusivity – of the copy I was lucky enough to own.

We all have our own ideas about ‘the best year for reggae’, and of course it’s very subjective, but I’ve always looked back and seen 1972 as a very special year, not just because it was an important part of my youth, but also for the sheer quality of the music. Reggae was changing, the deejays were becoming even more prominent, the lyrics were getting more socially conscious and exhilarating dub mixes were starting to take over from the rather plain B-side ‘versions’. This was the sound of the future!”

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