By 1969, I had already heard of Desmond Dekker and The Aces. This Jamaican Ska band had enjoyed a moderate hit with ‘007 (Shanty Town)’, some years earlier. Often wrongly described as a Reggae record, this number one single was a huge hit at the time, and one of the only Ska records to ever enjoy such wide appeal in the UK, and in many other countries too.
The lyrics take some working out, due to the heavy accent they are sung in. It is generally agreed to be a song about the everyday concerns of earning enough money to get by in life, combined with some references to the Rastafarian religion. That aside, it is all about the shuffling beat, the infectious chorus, and taking me back to a time when I was only seventeen years old, and loved Ska.
Desmond Dekker continued to work and perform until as recently as 2006, when he died in London, following a heart atack. He had enjoyed more hits with the songs ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want’, (a Jimmy Cliff song) and ‘It Mek’, then ‘Israelites’ enjoyed success once again, when it was re-released in 1975. This clip features the original recording, only 2.34 minutes long.