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King of Ska: Greatest Hits

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Album Review

Desmond Dekker had a string of poppish ska singles in Jamaica beginning with "Honour Your Mother and Father" in 1963, but he really hit his stride when rocksteady started to break, issuing the classic "007 (Shanty Town)" in 1967 and following it up with the eccentric but undeniably catchy "Israelites" a year later. "Israelites" was a huge hit in both the U.K. and the U.S., and opened a door to international success that would allow fellow Jamaican artists like Jimmy Cliff, Toots Hibbert, and Bob Marley to gain overseas audiences. This 12-song set is evenly split between live and studio tracks and it's a lot of fun, but listeners should be aware that the versions here of his early hits are actually re-recordings Dekker made in the 1980s.


Born: July 16, 1942 in Kingston, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Probably no other Jamaican artist has brought more international acclaim to his island home than Desmond Dekker, barring, of course, Bob Marley, but Dekker came first. Most people's introduction to the island's unique musical sound came via the singer's many hits, most notably "Israelites" and "0.0.7. (Shanty Town)." Needless to say, he was even more influential in his homeland. Born Desmond Dacres in Kingston, Jamaica, on July 16, 1942, the star-to-be was orphaned in his teens. Left to earn a...
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King of Ska: Greatest Hits, Desmond Dekker
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