Archive for the ‘Desmond Dekker & The Aces’ Category

Lindsay Hutton / Desmond Dekker & The Aces

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Listen: 007 (Previously Unreleased Version) / Desmond Dekker & The Aces

Is the problem that the majors will sell anything, or that we’ll buy it?

God bless Lindsay Hutton. Seriously, there is no better human being alive. I love him. The guy will do more than anything for a friend. I know, because I’m one, as Joe once wrote.

Desperate for the Record Store Day reissue of Desmond Dekker & The Ace’s ’007′ single, which sold out before the plastic had hardened, Lindsay went on a mission to find me a copy. Make that two.

Now I had no idea this was an unreleased version. Yes, I was aware Universal’s sloppy team had flubbed the fact that ’007′ was originally released in ’67 on Island’s subsidiary Pyramid, and now had mistakenly reissued the single on the label’s red and white label also from that era. And that Universal proceeded to embarrass themselves further by housing the single in the wrong pink stock sleeve. Never was a red and white label single shipped in a pink company bag guys and girls.

But I wanted it regardless. Sorry, one more thing, the horrific 180 gram vinyl pressing. What that 180 gram nonsense is all about, I’ll never figure out.

So months later, Saint Lindsay uncovers not one, but two copies. Here is one to view and hear. This may be a different mix, but a different version…?

Compare it please to this original Pyramid ’67 pressing below:

Listen: 007 / Desmond Dekker & The Aces

Dave & Ansil Collins

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Listen: Double Barrel / Dave & Ansil Collins

Once Desmond Dekker & The Aces’ ‘Israelites’ became a US hit in ’68, occasional ska tracks began getting domestic releases, usually on small indies. Occasionally, as with Johnny Nash or Prince Buster, a major might take a chance, but not often.

Such was the case with Dave & Ansil Collins ‘Double Barrel’. Future Atlantic subsidiary Big Tree, then funded by Apmex Tape, took a shot, so to speak and ended up with a #22 US hit. And believe me, it cleansed the ear palate when it hit the airwaves back then, the song sounded fantastic.

By this time, I was blagging risqué RnB, soul and English rock singles every Friday evening from the local easy listening station, WMCR, who had absolutely no use for them, and certainly no use for ska. Half the fun of the impending weekend for me was tearing out of school right after last period and biking it to the station, rain, sleet or snow. Nothing stood between me and those 45′s. My pile was always waiting, and the anticipation was a buzz in itself. Size did matter here, the bigger the stack, the better.

Other than the evening DJ, and station owner Mrs. Warner, the place was deserted. She’d encourage me to sit in their production studio, complete with two turntables, full broadcast board, headphones, microphone, the works and just play the pile to my heart’s content. Clearly she got a charge out my hysteria for the records, and told me such many times through the years. Honestly, I don’t think records have ever again sounded as good as they did in that fluorescently lit, climate controlled, new equipment, newly pressed vinyl scented studio so many years ago.

Like when this would come on the air of the local Top 40′s after charting nationally, that first listen in the WMCR studio just wiped clean my ears. Ska, blue beat and reggae were in short supply then.

Listen: Double Barrel (Instrumental) / Dave & Ansil Collins

My first knee jerk about the infamous instrumental B sides were that we were getting burned. I recall the flip to Napoleon XIV’s ‘They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha Haa!’ being the A side backwards. If ever there was an act I wanted to hear another song by, it was him, so it seemed cheating. Same with all those Philles B sides. No Ronettes or Crystals on the flips, instead dreadful instrumentals that took me years to appreciate. And so with this, on first look, I was annoyed.

Turns out the much anticipated dub B side was just ahead, and this instrumental ended up getting played almost as much as the A side that night, and at home. In fact, I probably choose it on the jukebox 2 to 1 over the A.

Desmond Dekker & The Aces

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Listen: Get Up Edina / Desmond Dekker
Get Up Edina / Desmond Dekker

Everybody has a different moment when that light switch flicks on in their head, or as I like to say, the world goes from black and white to colour. Suddenly waking up to ska happened, not when hearing Millie Small’s ‘My Boy Lollipop’ as it probably should have, but instead via DR. NO, the James Bond film set in Jamaica circa ’62. Even then, it was in hindsight, not having seen the movie when current.

To be clear, there really isn’t any ska music in the film, but the 60′s look and locations equate to tracks like ‘Get Up Edina’ in my pea brain. Most likely, this couldn’t be farther from the real music scene then and there, but it motivated me to start collecting the genre.

Listen: 007 (Shanty Town) / Desmond Dekker
007 (Shanty Town) / Desmond Dekker

’007 (Shanty Town)’ was the first of sixteen singles Desmond Dekker released during ’67. Sixteen!

In just two short years following the original issue of ‘Get Up Edina’ in ’65, you can hear the timeline of ska sonically moving toward reggae and dub, simply from the song’s intro. Eventually brought to wider exposure when used in THE HARDER THEY COME and the accompanying soundtrack from ’73, then later reissued as part of the Two Tone revival in ’78, and again as part of Island UK’s reggae campaign in ’88 (see press release below), the single has reached a deserving non-stop landmark status. It may be primitive, but wow, does it remain timeless.

How great was it that Desmond Dekker & The Aces ‘Israelites’ hit both the UK and US Top 10 in ’68. Sadly, in America, the single was the second and final such accomplishment ever for ska.