July 16, 2009

Desmond Dekker//The Israelites

Last night, after rehearsal, we went to Jersey City's own Lucky 7 to see my dear friend Pat spin on his brandy brand new turn tables. Let me say, I love Jersey City. I always have a great time there and am always impressed by the "scene"/community-vibe that it maintains, even so close to NYC.

Pat and I went to high school together and first became friends in Mrs. Sherman's seventh period (I think) art class. We sat at the same table, along with KK and Christie Taylor, and often found ourselves in ideological battles with the table directly across the room, populated mostly by football jocks, including my personal high school arch-nemesis, who shall remain unnamed. Pat was one of the roughly nine awesome people at my school and so I was always grateful for his presence. We also look quite a bit alike, which lead people to call us brother and sister, and lead me to keep a special sibling-inspired place in my heart for him.

Anyway, Pat started off the evening wearing what appeared to be a Lucha Libre mask and playing lots of great tunes, mostly Reggae, African and 60s/70s. He stuck to vinyl exclusively, which is something he should be praised for in this modern DJ era of iPod plugins. He should also be praised for his sweet-ass collection of 45s. When I requested this obvious old standard, he didn't miss a beat.

My dad first introduced me to this song, which really is a testament to my dad. Another one of those dad songs that he would wander around the house belting at the top of his lungs: "OHHHH OHHH THE ISREALITESSSS!" Later, my stepbro Joel gave me a "Best Of" Desmond Dekker collection. Jayums.

The story of Dekker, legend of Reggae/Ska/Rocksteady, is that he was born in 1941 in Kingston, Jamaica as Desmond Adolphus Dacres (he changed it--why?). He preceded Bob Marley as a major international music talent from Jamaica. This song was released in '68 and became the first Reggae track to top/top ten all the major charts by '69. Sadly, after a rise from the late 60s to the mid-80s and a fall that ended in bankruptcy, Dekker died in 2006, of a heart attack.

The Israelites.mp3

I don't want to end up like Bonnie and Clyde.

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