Desmond Dekker – This Is Desmond Dekkar

I now have a re-issue of This is Desmond Dekkar by Desmond Dekker, well who else would it be by? I’ve no idea why the surnames are different though. Another Trojan Records release, and one I mentioned I was going to get, partially because I already know a few of the tracks but also because it is considered a classic.


Desmond Adolphus Dacres was born in Saint Andrew Parish (Greater Kingston), Jamaica, on 16 July 1941 and spent his formative years in Kingston. Following his mother’s death, he moved to the parish of St. Mary and later to St. Thomas. While at St. Thomas, he embarked on an apprenticeship as a tailor before returning to Kingston, where he became a welder. His workplace singing drew the attention of his co-workers, who encouraged him to pursue a career in music. In 1961 he auditioned unsuccessfully for Coxsone Dodd (Studio One) and Duke Reid (Treasure Isle), he then auditioned for Leslie Kong’s Beverley’s record label and was awarded his first recording contract.

It was two years before he actually released a single and in 1963 “Honour Your Mother and Father” (which was written by Dekker) became a Jamaican hit and kick started Dekker’s musical career. Two more hit single releases followed and it was around this time that Desmond Dacres adopted the stage-name of Desmond Dekker. His fourth hit, “King of Ska” resulted in his becoming  one of the Jamaica’s biggest stars.

In 1968 what is probably Dekker’s most well known song, Israelites ,was released. and in April 1969 it reached number 1 in the UK charts. In 1969 Dekkar took permanent residency in the UK.

Much of the music Jamaican music scene was centred around 45’s and the album This is Desmond Dekkar is a collection of much of his work record between 1967 and 1969, so it is effectively a compilation but omits his first and biggest UK hit. The debut album, titled Isralites contained the track for which Dekker was to become synonymous and that makes this album seem more an individual release rather than a compilation.


A1 007
A2 Sabotage
A3 Shing A Ling
A4 Hey Grandma
A5 Beautiful And Dangerous
A6 Wise Man
B1 Music Like Dirt
B2 Rudy Got Soul
B3 Unity
B4 Mother Pepper
B5 It Pays
B6 Mother´s Young Girl

The album presents a wealth of what are considered his finest compositions, all set to the soothing midtempo style prominent in later-’60s Kingston. They are relaxing but never mellow, and often address the island’s “Rude Boy” gang violence and poverty. Perfect for a replaying by Coventry’s The Specials who grew out of a city seemingly suffering a similar fate and who covered opening track 007. I’m not posting that though, instead here are The Bodysnatchers from 1980 covering 007, loads of energy!

The importance of Dekker in reggae music should not be undervalued, while internationally many believe it all started with Bob Marley, it was Dekker who had the first international reggae hits outside of Jamaica and it was Dekker who gave the world Bob Marley by introducing his nobody co-worker, Robert, to his producer in 1961.

Desmond Dekker (1941-2006) succumbed to a sudden heart attack in England on May 25, 2006. Here he is live, playing the big hits, no idea when this is from but later in his career for sure.

Rating: 9.0

John Peel Radio Show – 06/12/79

And another John Peel show. Variable audio quality but listenable.

Featuring sessions from Misty and Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft


The Clash – Clampdown (CBS)
The Clash – Guns Of Brixton (CBS)
The Yachts – Now I’m Spoken For (Radar)
Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft – Was Ist Ein Welle? (Session)
Misty – Judgement Coming On The Land (Session)
Adam and the Ants – Day I Met God (Do It)
The Beat – Tears Of A Clown (Two-Tone)
Public Image Ltd – Bad Baby (Virgin)
Preachers – Who Do You Love (BFD)
Secret Affair – New Dance (I-Spy)
Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Dance Stance (Oddball)
Mikey Dread – Comic Strip (Cruise)
Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft – I And I Reality (Session)
Speedballs – Is Somebody There (No Pap)
Suicide – Dream Baby Dream (Island)
The Undertones – Billy’s Third (Sire)
The Fall – Before The Moon Falls (Step Forward)
Buzzards – British Justice (Chrysalis)
Misty – True Rasta Man (Session)
The Specials – Concrete Jungle (2Tone)
Bob Marley And The Wailers (Concrete Jungle)
Simple Minds – Carnival [Shelter In A Suitcase] (Arista)
The Raincoats – Adventures Close To Home (Rough Trade)
Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft – Violence (Session)
The Passions – Oh No It’s You (Fiction)
The Skids – Working For The Yankee Dollar (Virgin)
The Pop Group – We Are All Prostitutes (Rough Trade)
Misty – Sodom And Gomorrah (Session)
Snakefinger – Here Comes The Bums (Virgin)
The Clash – Hateful (CBS)
Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft – Kebab Dreams (Session)
Mekons – Dan Dare (Virgin)
Boys – See Ya Later (Safari)

John Peel Radio Show – 09/10/1979

1979, what a year to be alive for music! Another John Peel show to enjoy.

Featuring Au Pairs in session.

Stiff Little Fingers – Straw Dogs (Chrysalis)
Spizzenergi – Soldier, Soldier (Rough Trade)
999 – Found Out Too Late (Radar)
Au Pairs – Pretty Boy (Session)
The Specials – Nite Klub (2 Tone)
The Skids – Thanatos/A Day In Europa/The Olympian (Virgin)
Majesterians – Flute In Dub (Revue)
Johnny Guitar Watson – Someone Cares For Me (Red Lightnin’)
Spitfire Boys – Funtime (Impeccable)
Vice Versa – New Girls/Neutrons (Neutron)
Au Pairs – Ideal Woman (Session)
The Slits – Typical Girls (Island)
Tempo – Subway Girl (Klein)
The Undertones – Let’s Talk About Girls (Sire)
Laughing Gass – New Tart (Out Of Order/Wessex)
The Revillos – Where’s The Boy For Me? (Dindisc)
Dennis Brown – The Man Next Door (Joe Gibbs)
Homosexuals – Astral Glamour (Black Noise)
X-Certs – Anthem (Heartbeat)
Apartment – The Alternative (Heartbeat)
Numbers – Cross-Slide (Heartbeat)
Au Pairs – Monogamy (Session)
Cowboys International – Pointy Shoes (Virgin)
Fakes – Production (Deep Cuts)
Shenley Duffus – Rukumbine (Mango)
Joy Division – Shadow Play (Factory)
Out – Who Is Innocent? (Radar)
Mikey Dread – Love The Dread (Dread At The Controls)
Au Pairs – Come Again (Session)
IQ Zero – Insects (Object)

Bring Back The Old Grey Whistle Test

I miss OGWT, there is nothing like it on TV today, in fact, music in general is sadly under represented on TV nowadays. BBC Four and Sky Arts have the odd programme that is worth a watch but so much is a load of talking heads being nostalgic interspersed with too short clips. MTV should re-brand itself, Music Television it is not.

OGWT was the album version of Top of the Pops. The 45’s appeared on TOTP but it was 33 1/3 on OGWT and much the better for it. The first time I ever saw the show was in the Seventies, when presented by ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris, who it is fair to say, had difficulties with the punk scene around 1977 as it developed on independent label 45’s on bob_1943392cnot on the major labels, and not albums. He left in 1978, or was more likely moved on, to be replaced by Annie Nightingale, who I thought did a marvellous job of presenting the show. Not so her replacements though. From 1982 the show was presented variously by  Andy Kershaw, David Hepworth, Mark Ellen and Richard Skinner but I never really took to them. Not that there was anything I could put my finger on about them exactly, I think it was more to do with it being different from what I had first seen and I never really got used to it.

There were some amazing performances on this show, the sort of thing you couldn’t really see anywhere else at the time. I put the following forward as an example (and don’t forget, there were only 3 TV channels available in 1973):

Where else could you see this? I would suggest nowhere. I had a look at a 1973 top 30 chart run down, 29 white acts and the Detroit Spinners at number 10 (Gary glitter was number 1, oh dear) and not just that, the style of music wasn’t really represented either, along with others. Here’s the chart run down which you can see for yourself if you like:

Although unless you are already immune to the cheesiness of Tony Blackburn it might be better not to watch it.

There is a huge amount of music out there currently which is massively under represented. I know we have youtube and other places to view things now, but I have always liked a show, properly structured, along the lines of ..Later With Jools Holland but including some documentary and on location films. The OGWT could really fill that gap.

Here are some performances from the show that I’ve liked, not all of them, there are loads, just some:

There’s a list of who was on which show here if you are interested: