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Desmond Dekker R.I.P.

Posted by smallaxe 
Desmond Dekker R.I.P.
May 25, 2006 11:44PM
just to let you all know that
the king of ska
Desmond Dekker passed on today

Bless him in Zion
give thnks for the crucial music Brother Desmond
Re: Desmond Dekker R.I.P.
May 26, 2006 12:03AM
Brother DD, rest in peace, he was one intensified guy.
Re: Desmond Dekker R.I.P.
May 26, 2006 12:17AM
Sad news, indeed. Saw him perform just a little over a year ago, during his rare minitour of the US. He was in fine form and spirit. One of the best crowd responses I'd seen in a long time, at a live gig - the crowd knew all the lyrics. Chatted with the gentle man that was Desmond, afterwards - he was very approachable and accomodating. No doubt, the first-ever "reggae" song that would inspire my future appreciation for the vibe, was the seed that was planted by DD's "Israelites". I was 11, at the time - but still remember the uniqueness of the tempo that moved my little body. It all came full circle, many decades later, in my personal meeting with the legend. Most humble respect, and godspeed, bredda Desmond...

Re: Desmond Dekker R.I.P.
May 26, 2006 12:20AM

Desmond Dekker
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Desmond Dekker
Desmond Dekker performing his hit song "Israelites" at the Wembley Arena in 1969
Born: July 16, 1941
Kingston, Jamaica
Occupation: Singer and songwriter
Website: [www.desmonddekker.com]
Desmond Dekker (born Desmond Adolphus Dacres in Kingston, Jamaica on July 16, 1941) is a ska and reggae singer and songwriter. Together with his backing group, The Aces (consisting of Wilson James and Easton Barrington Howard), he had the first international Jamaican hit with "Israelites". Other hits include "007 (Shanty Town)" (1967), and "It Mek" (1968).

Before the ascent of Bob Marley, Desmond Dekker was the best-known Jamaican musician outside of his country, and one of the most popular within it. He was orphaned as a teenager. Dekker began working as a welder, singing around his workplace while his coworkers encouraged him. In 1961, he auditioned for Coxsone Dodd (Studio One) and Duke Reid (Treasure Isle). Neither were impressed by his talents, and the young man moved on to Leslie Kong's Beverley record label, where he auditioned before Derrick Morgan, then the label's biggest star. With Morgan's support, Dekker was signed but did not record until 1963, because Leslie Kong wanted to wait for the perfect song. Dekker's "Honour Your Father and Mother" was to be that song.

"Honour Your Father and Mother" was a hit, and was followed by "Sinners Come Home" and "Labour for Learning", as well as a name change (from Desmond Dacres to Desmond Dekker). His fourth hit, however, made him into one of the island's biggest stars. It was "King of Ska", a rowdy and jubilant song on which Dekker was backed by The Cherrypies (also known as The Maytals). The song remains well known among ska fans. Dekker then recruited four brothers, Carl, Patrick, Clive and Barry Howard, who became his backing band, known as The Four Aces.

Dekker and the Howards recorded a number of hits, including "Parents", "Get Up Edina", "This Woman" and "Mount Zion". Until 1967, Dekker's songs were polite and conveyed respectable, mainstream messages. In that year, however, he appeared on Derrick Morgan's "Tougher Than Tough", which helped begin a trend of popular songs glamourizing the violent rude boy culture. Dekker's own songs did not go to the extremes of many other popular tunes, though he did introduce lyrics which resonated with the rude boys, starting with one of his best-known songs, "007 (Shanty Town)". The song established Dekker as a rude boy icon, and also became an established hero in the United Kingdom's mod scene. "007 (Shanty Town)" was a Top 15 hit in the UK, and he toured the country with a posse of mods following him.

Dekker continued with songs in the same vein, such as "Rude Boy Train" and "Rudie Got Soul", as well as continuing with his previous themes of religion and morality in songs like "It's a Shame", "Wise Man", "Hey Grandma", "Unity", "It Pays", "Mother's Young Girl" and "Sabotage". His "Pretty Africa" is a long-standing favorite among his fans, and may be the earliest popular song promoting repatriation. Many of the hits from this era came from his debut album, 007 (Shanty Town).

In 1968, Dekker's "Israelites" was released, appearing on both the US and UK charts, eventually topping the latter and peaking in the Top Ten of the former. He was the first Jamaican performer to enter US markets with pure Jamaican music, though he never repeated the feat. That same year saw the release of "Beautiful and Dangerous", "Writing on the Wall", "Music Like Dirt", "Bongo Girl" and "Shing a Ling".

1969 saw the release of "It Mek", which first saw only lukewarm success but was re-recorded and became a hit both in Jamaica and the UK. He also released "Problems" and "Pickney Gal", both of which were popular in Jamaica, but saw only limited success elsewhere.

In the 1970s, Dekker spent most of his time touring and moved to the UK, where he continued to record. Among his best known releases of this period was "You Can Get It If You Really Want", written by Jimmy Cliff, which Dekker had not wanted to record but was convinced by Leslie Kong. Kong, whose production had been an instrumental part of both Dekker's and Cliff's careers, died in 1971, and both his protegé's were lost for a period before returning to music.

Dekker continued recording, but with only limited success, until he began working with the production duo Bruce Anthony in 1974. His first hit with the pair was 1975's "Sing a Little Song", which was a British Top Ten. Dekker was unable to follow its success, however, and did not chart in the UK for some time, except for the top 10 recharting of "Israelites" in the UK in 1975. Dekker also found only a limited audience in Jamaica.

At the end of the 1970s, Dekker signed with Stiff Records, a punk label linked with the Two-Tone movement, a fusion of punk and ska. He recorded an album called Black & Dekker, which featured his previous hits backed by The Rumour, Graham Parker's backing band. His first single was "Israelites", a Top Ten Belgian hit, and was followed by "Please Don't Bend", Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers to Cross" and "Book of Rules". His next album was Compass Point, produced by Robert Palmer. Though Compass Point did not sell well, Dekker was still a popular live performer, and he toured with The Rumour. In the early 80s, as the Two Tone movement died out, he saw his fortunes dwindle, and he declared bankruptcy in 1984.

Only a single live album was released in the late 80s, but a new version of "Israelites" reawakened public interest in 1990, following its use in a Maxell ad. He re-recorded some old singles, and worked with The Specials for 1992's King of Kings's, which used hits from Dekker's musical heroes, including Derrick Morgan.

Desmond Dekker has also recently colaborated on a remix version of his classic "Israelites" with Reggae artist Apache Indian

Desmond Dekker is referenced in the Rancid song "Roots Radical" in the lyric, "The radio was playing/Desmond Dekker was singing/On the 43 bus as we climb up the hill"

"Love The Life You Live & Live The Life You Love" Papa Briggy
Re: Desmond Dekker R.I.P.
May 26, 2006 01:18AM
Very sad news fi true. I had the pleasure of seeing Desmond perform on a couple of occassions. This sad event does illustrate why I so appreciate that this festival makes a point of getting foundation artists to our part of the world while they are still able to perform.
Zion's chorus has another beautiful voice awaiting us when we get there.

One love,
Jah Mike

Jah Jah power endureth for i-ver.
Re: Desmond Dekker R.I.P.
May 26, 2006 03:12AM
rip mr dekker
condolences to your family and friends.
thank u for the music,

one love one peace
Re: Desmond Dekker R.I.P.
May 26, 2006 07:37AM
I-man enjoyed Desmond's spirit and energy very much. Jah house keep him well.

Bless On
Re: Desmond Dekker R.I.P.
May 26, 2006 09:35AM
10 years ago I walked into to a record store and without looking I asked a dreadie to turn me on to something old school ska/reggae. He eagerly went and got Desmonds greatest hits album. I didnt hesitate and bought it. The first thing that i Noticed in the liner notes is that we share the same birthday! Coincidentally I had just met a cat one year younger exactly and we became good freinds in '95. While he was flopping at our pad someone gave him a school bus. yeah. and 4th of July week we took it to Taos New Mexico for a 4 day Music festival with a handful of other characters and had an adventure. Desmond Dekker was foremost in the tapedeck for our trip and for months we just dug his music and his July 16 vibe. What a beautiful voice. "them a loot and a shoot and a wail.." Love that man. peace.
Re: Desmond Dekker R.I.P.
May 26, 2006 11:45AM
I recently saw that DD had a tour coming up this spring and summer. He must have died unexpectedly. Does anyone know if he had been sick or what happened? He must have been in his sixties?

"love shines brighter than the morning sun"
Re: Desmond Dekker R.I.P.
May 26, 2006 12:58PM
wow, I was at that 4 day fest in taos as well
95 was it?

the One World Music Festival?

Re: Desmond Dekker R.I.P.
May 26, 2006 03:54PM
First reggae album I ever bought was a Desmond LP...don't remember the name of the album (I'm a lousy discographer), but his great vocals and great tunes stay with me still..."Music Like Dirt", "Hey Grandma", Beautiful and Dangerous", "Pretty Africa"...it goes on & on...I'm sure Penny could help with the name of that LP...the greatest of love and respect for the man who as much as any other artist helped usher in rocksteady and 'rude boy' music and who helped Bob Marley get through to producer Leslie Kong to make his first recording after Kong had run Marley away from the studio.
Re: Desmond Dekker R.I.P.
May 26, 2006 06:23PM
thank you Desmond.

got to see you thankfully last year @ the del mar show with mikey dread.
(fisrt and only)
excellent indeed. great show. the skinheads there, loved him like u have no idea..
Re: Desmond Dekker R.I.P.
May 26, 2006 06:28PM
so i guess (maybe)
may 11 was his last show leeds univeristy uk?
Re: Desmond Dekker R.I.P.
May 26, 2006 06:32PM

+++++++Be the change you want to see in this world- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Go Green. Live Good, Do Good, and Support the Conscious Movement. It's up to I and I to make our manifestations a reality+++++++
Re: Desmond Dekker R.I.P.
May 26, 2006 07:55PM
Smallaxe , Gilestyle here, yeah thats the festival. P funk played for 3 hours and 45 minutes and blew my f-ing mind. My only regret was missing Toots cause I was trippin in the campground. Seen him now a few times including last month in my small town San Luis Obispo. Like going to church. Irie. Do regret that I never got to see the King of Ska. Desmond. feel free to share a memory of that festival. love to hear from ya. Peace.
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