Israelites: The Best of Desmond Dekker

by: Desmond Dekker

Desmond Dekker has been well served by the reissue labels, with the shelves buckling under all the compilations dedicated to his music. The bulk, however, invariably draw from the same limited pool of songs, with most ignoring the singer's early years entirely. The two-CD You Can Get It If You Really Want: The Definitive Collection is pretty much the only compilation that provides a proper career retrospective, with the rest drawing exclusively from his 1967-1971 recordings. Israelites: The Best of Desmond Dekker, while no substitute for You Can Get It If You Really Want, at least dips back into Dekker's early years. One of the best one-disc roundups around, the compilation top-loads the set with Dekker's international hits (the only one missing is 1975's "Sing a Little Song"), with the other 20 tracks drawn willy-nilly from the Kong years (1963-1971). There's no attempt at chronology -- and ska numbers rub shoulders with reggae tracks -- nor any sense of sequencing, so the tempos and moods shift dramatically at times. By and large, though, the set will sate most casual Dekker collectors, with the selector having worked hard to include most modern-day fans' favorite numbers. Those looking for more should purchase You Can Get It If You Really Want, but for those seeking just the hits and a decent overview, this set is the perfect solution. ~ Jo-Ann Greene

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