Every Record I Own - Day 315: Desmond Dekker The King of Ska
At my high school in Hawaii, you either surfed or skated. If you surfed, you listened to reggae. If you skated, you listened to ska. There was an unacknowledged racial bias to this either/or scenario—Pacific Islanders tended to surf, whereas the white and Asian kids tended to pick skateboarding. I don’t regret my skateboarding years, though I do regret those youthful subconscious prejudices and not learning to surf. And of course, I regret the Skankin’ Pickle cassettes I purchased at the suggestion of my skater friends.
Reggae was ubiquitous in Hawaii, and once I moved away I realized I sorta missed it. I didn’t necessarily feel a strong connection to the ‘70s and ‘80s stuff that was in high rotation on the islands, but I missed some of the lighter, more upbeat old school artists. I’ve found that early reggae and first wave ska tends to hit the spot for me—The Maytals, Ken Boothe, Delroy Wilson, and Desmond Dekker in particular.
I bought this LP a few years ago thinking it was a greatest hits collection, though it winds up it’s a late-career re-recording of his early singles. The songs are still great and the production is faithful to the originals, so if you don’t bother reading the liner notes you can convince yourself that this is a reissue.