Desmond Dekker & The Aces :: Israelites, 1978 (BBC)

The grey curtain is starting to fall over the Upper Midwest, and in an effort to stave off winter’s cruel vibes, I’ve been spinning Desmond Dekker’s Super Best hits package. Here he is crossing through “Israelites” nine years after that song brought reggae and ska from the island to the isle, much to the mods’ delight. By the time this video was shot, Dekker was already in the midst of a career renaissance, having been rediscovered by the two-tone movement; he was signed to legendary British label Stiff (home to Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, and Nick Lowe, among others) and would go on to re-record “Israelites” several times. Surprisingly, the 1969 original made an impact on our shores, too, where it cracked the Top Ten upon its release–the first “pure Jamaican song” to do so, according to AllMusic’s Jo-Ann Green. For better or worse, Dekker’s star seems to rise and fall with the fortunes of ska, but his music remains fresh. words/ m garner

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