Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Desmond Dekker & The Aces: Israelites

OK, think quickly. Name all of the artists that you can who recorded for the Uni label (1966-1972 – not the later 80s version). Hmmm, there was Elton John, Neil Diamond, Olivia Newton-John – OK, I now I have to look. There also were the Strawberry Alarm Clock, Hugh Masakela, Brian Hyland, and Desmond Dekker and the Aces.

Our one hit wonder is Desmond Dekker’s and Leslie Kong’s composition “Israelites.” The songwriting credits list Dekker’s birth name of Dacres. I remember playing this single at WWNR during the oldies format days – and so the Uni Record’s mustard yellow label is memorable to me.

Dekker was the first Jamaican to have a US hit and the first reggae recording to reach the number one slot in the UK. In 1969, “Israelites” peaked at #9 in the US despite the majority of Americans’ difficulty understanding Dekker’s thick Jamaican accent. Is it “Get up every morning baked beans for breakfast” or “Get up every morning slaving for bread sir?”

The song was re-released in the UK in 1975 where it climbed once again into the top 10. In all, “Israelites” sold two million copies.

No comments:

Post a Comment