ARTIST: Desmond Dekker
TITLE: Israelites – The Best of Desmond Dekker
YEAR RELEASED: Compilations
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Charting singles: Israelites (#9 US, #1 UK), It Mek (#7 UK), Pickney Gal (#42 UK), You Can Get It If You Really Want (#2 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Maybe 007 (Shanty Town)
LINEUP: Desmond Dekker, the Aces, other session men.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Pioneering reggae and rock-steady vocalist and songwriter’s 60’s and 70’s singles are collected here.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Reggae hit the airwaves a few years before Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley, with Dekker’s “Israelites” single. Dekker was already a popular performer in Jamaica (one of the most popular Rude Boys) and the Caribbean before hitting in the UK with some singles early on.
A lot of these tracks are indicative of a genre in transition – the move from ska and rocksteady to reggae was slowly happening. Horns dominate most of these recordings.
Dekker writes some good material and has a good voice. If you like reggae you may want to check out some of this stuff. It’s always good to hear the roots of a genre.
NOTES & MINUTAE: He has a couple of tracks on The Harder They Come soundtrack. Also, Stiff Records released a re-recording of “Israelites” in the early 80’s
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: B: Many good tracks. I’m not a reggae expert so I’m moving most of this to a reggae playlist and will examine further.