Saturday, May 27, 2006
R.I.P. Desmond Dekker

Music like dirt. For your money's worth. Yeah!


Desmond Dekker & The Aces: Unity
Desmond Dekker: Intensified '68
Both available on Israelites: Anthology 1963-1999
BONUS BEATS! Tanya Stephens: Power Of A Girl


The Israelite has passed. Tom Breihan already has a playlist up at the Voice. But of course he missed a bunch. 10 Desmond Dekker songs only gets you so far. Even 2 full CDs only get you so far.

So here are two more of my favorites. "Unity" is from 1967, a period that saw the the fraying of Jamaica's post-independence euphoria into urban turmoil. Bios of Dekker note that this is the point when he recorded "Tougher Than Tough" and the "Israelites", turning to "rude-boy themes." Like he suddenly was getting his thug on. It's important to note that such themes included heartfelt calls for peace like this one. Trivia: Queen Latifah lifted it for her less-memorable-than-you'd-think Top 40 hit in the late 90s. I was going to use the exuberant chorus as an epigraph at the beginning of Chapter 3, but decided it was a bit out of context. Still it remains in heavy rotation around these parts.

"Intensified" was the title given to two seminal 1979 ska collections curated by Steve Barrow, which gripped a new generation of bluebeat fans. It was also the refrain of Dekker's lighter 1968 hit, also known as "Music Like Dirt", which may contribute to the idea of Dekker being called "king of ska", even though history shows his big successes didn't come until he was doing rocksteady. By this point, the tempos had slowed a bit, the instrumental parts streamlined quite a bit from the raucous virtuosity. For years I was confused by the difference between the two, and now I know why. The post-punk neo-ska revival blurred the historical lines, kinda the same way all these wack W'burgers have forever twisted the term "electro." Another rant for another time. Anyway, this is a fantastic song, with Desmond singing the heck out of the track.

Bonus track: this 45 from a few years back was produced by German reggae star Gentleman and voiced by the incomparable irrepressible Tanya Stephens (check for her new album this summer), and in its spirit and execution stands as a living tribute. RIP Desmond Dekker.

posted by Zentronix @ 11:19 AM   2 comments links to this post

2 Comments:

At 5/28/06, 10:58 PM, Blogger i said...

word. that's all i can say. world'd be a worse place had desmond never been here. rest in peace mi bredda.

 
At 5/29/06, 7:52 AM, Blogger Nate P. said...

Also have to give props to his version of "You Can Get it if You Really Want," which is just a hair better than the more well-known Jimmy Cliff version; Desmond sounds a lot nicer on the chorus.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

 

Previous posts
The South Berkeley Guide To The Conservative Guide...
Ed Park on Kaavya Vishwanathan
Some Of The Most Important Shows Of The Year
Poptomism v. Rockism For Dummies
Dr. Antwi Akom Case: Update
Cody's Telegraph Is Closing
Link-O-Matic
Immigrant Rights And Anti-Black Racism
Funniest Headline Of The Day (...If You're Not A M...
A Day Without Us


select * from pages where handle = "BlogLinks" #content#

Archives
June 2002
July 2002
August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
 

Email list

Add me to the Can't Stop Won't Stop email list, an irregular update of what's new in our world:

Submit