I remember when I first heard Desmond Dekker’s, “Israelites” back in the late 1960s, I was blown away by how different it sounded. It wasn’t until the late seventies that I realised it was reggae.
I was one of those people in that late 1970s that absolutely hated disco and I was also beginning to be bored with rock at about the same time. Punk had come out as an antidote, but to me much of it was like rock that was being performed on speed. Reggae offered some relief but the music of that time that spoke me the most was ska. I couldn’t get enough of ska and it always disappointed me that the skinheads appropriated the genre as their own, which of course turned so many people off the music.
One of my favourite ska albums was Desmond Dekker’s, “Black and Dekker“. What made this album so great, in my mind, was that instead of just re-releasing Desmond’s old hits played the same old way, as some kind of retrospective cash cow, Stiff Records (a punk label) teamed Dekker up with Graham Parker’s backing band “The Rumour”. A band as tight and hard driving as The Rumour was a perfect match for Dekker to bring him up to date.
This video is a TV performance of Dekker doing his up-dated version of “Israelites”.