Desmond Dekker & The Aces

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.

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