This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

"What is gonna happen to the young generation?" - Desmond Dekker

News item the first: Last night was fucking great. I had this killer Russian beer called Baltika #9 at the Brickskeller and Chris and I got lost on 7th. We also met a cross-dressing Ann Coulter impersonator named Cowboy Bill. Check Bill out here - Dude is awesome.

News item the second: While I'm not a huge football fan, I like the Colts being in the post-season solely because it creates more opportunities for Peyton Manning to suffer a career-ending injury/death.

When I tell people I'm into ska, they say "like No Doubt or [if they're VH1-addled] Letters to Cleo?" and I'm forced to visit some form of bodily harm upon them while yelling, "do you even KNOW who the Specials are, jackass?!?"

My violent tendencies aside, I do like a lot of the revival bands, like Operation Ivy, Slapstick, Selecter, and *sigh,* yes, the Voodoo Glowskulls. But what really gets me hard is the old school ska from the late 50's to mid 60's Jamaica. There's something raw and vital about the music, and Victory Records-esque artist cheating, while reprehensible, also led to a large number of artists and records being produced, which gives us a large overview of the scene from the distance of history.

The self-described King of Ska (and he fuckin' was, too) was Desmond Dekker, Jamaica's first international singing star, thanks to the breakout smash of his song "Israelites." A former tailor and welder before being plucked from obscurity by producer/impresario Leslie Kong in 1962, Dekker had a smooth croon that translated well into slow-burners like "Fu Manchu" or party starters like "Get Up, Edina!" He also started moving away from songs with simple, positive imagery to songs about the struggles of his people and the violence of Jamaica's slums, which made him almost an icon to the rude boys.

When Kong died in 1971, Dekker was kind of adrift until the rise of the punk-influenced Two-Tone movement in England at the end of the decade, when the crop of bands who claimed him as an influence helped turn him into a Stiff Records recording artist and a touring powerhouse.

It didn't last forever, and in 1984 he declared bankruptcy, essentially halting his career, aside from the occasional festival performance. Save for a stray live album and a collection of covers recorded with the Specials, he was largely silent until his heart attack in May of last year, dying at the age of 64.

I hope these songs light enough of a fire under your ass so that you go buy the double disc Anthology, which is too crucial for words.

Get Up, Edina! -

Fu Manchu -

Young Generation -

Fat Man (with the Specials) -


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