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by
Kathy Shaidle

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January 5, 2014 - 10:00 am
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dekkerisraelites

 

When my best friend and I finished high school, we made good on our long time plan to move to the big city.

We rented an east end house with a few other people, and the two of us shared the extra big upstairs bedroom.

I’d always known my friend was a heavy sleeper; she was almost always late for school, for instance.

But I didn’t know how heavy until we moved in together.

She slept through fire, car and smoke alarms, power drills, break-ins and raging roommate fights.

The morning I moved out — remember, we shared a bedroom  — she slept through that, too.

But that was one of the only differences between her and me.

We loved the same music: punk and “2-tone” ska revival. When you’re a teenager or just beyond, shared musical tastes “covereth a multitude of sins.”

One day she came back from Kensington Market with the Desmond Dekker single, “Israelites.”

Years before Bob Marley made reggae world famous (and ruined it with all that brain dead Rastafarian nonsense), Desmond Dekker’s peppy, infectious, out-of-nowhere ska song had been the first Jamaican record to make the international Top 10, selling millions of copies in 1969, and again when it was reissued in 1975.

“Israelites” quickly became our house anthem.

In those pre-iPhone and iPod days, my friend often said that if someone would just invent an alarm clock that played “Israelites” full blast, she’d never sleep in again.

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All Comments   (6)
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As it happens, the only place from which I happen to know anything about the song is this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbP_wBn3Lsc

Get up in the morning,
Sleeping for bread, sir;
Sold out to every monk
And beef-head.

Oh-oh...
Me ears are alight.

Why find my kids?
They buck up and a-leave me.
Darling cheese-head,
I was yards too greasy.

Oh-oh...
Me ears are alight.

I think that's what he says.
But I need to hear it on a Maxell.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yep I linked to that video in the "mondrians" part, above. Love it!
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hi kath, what's wrong with a bit of an argument?

There was plenty of reggae on the radio and Paul Simonon, being even more of a greybeard than me should know it. Radio Caroline, Radio Luxembourg, and even Radio 1 carried stuff from Trojan and Island.

I might take it up with Paul but knowing his views on global warming am likely to come to blows. There would be only one winner...the one without the gappy teeth.

I smashed a guitar once too, you know, although that was sheer carelessness, I have to admit.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nothing, that's why I responded! :-)

I think by "radio" he meant "official" radio and not Caroline etc. But you say Radio 1 so there you go.

Yeah I don't think many folks would like to mess with Paul even at his advanced age. I was actually relieved to hear him on this program over the Christmas break because it meant he wasn't on that ship stuck in the ice.

Funny story though:
http://pitchfork.com/news/44634-the-clashs-paul-simonon-arrested-for-occupying-oil-rig-with-greenpeace/

"According to the Greenpeace blog, a jam session broke out while their ship was at sea. One of Simonon's fellow crew members recalls "telling the professional bass player he was 'not bad' and ought to pursue music." Simonon went the entire two weeks in jail without revealing his actual identity to fellow activists."
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well Paul Simonon is wrong. I was born in 1960 and reggae was all over the airwaves when I were a nipper. The late sixties 'skinheads' were big reggae fans. This has been airbrushed out of history.

For what it's worth (f*** all) the first records I ever bought were: Lola, The Kinks. When I'm Dead and Gone, McGuinessFlint, and Black and White by Greyhound, on the old reggae label, Trojan.

Love The Clash all you may but don't expect anything approaching intelligence.

37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hi Peter,

Actually, the Skinheads episode of Don Letts' Subculture series -- above -- discusses the first skinheads' love of reggae. I knew about it well before that came out and I'm a Canadian who is a couple of years younger than you but who devoured the English music weeklies. I figured the skin/reggae/ska thing was more or less common knowledge.

And Simonon was a ex-skin, so...

You were there and I wasn't, so I won't argue with you about what was on the radio. You'll have to take it up with him :-) I figured John Peel was the only one playing it, starting in the 1970s.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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