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'Israelites': A Musical Exodus in Two Minutes and Thirty Five Seconds



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.