Desmond Dekker & The Aces – Israelites (1969) HQ
Published on Nov 21, 2017
A surprise hit for the spring and summer of 1969 … released in October 1968 by Jamaican singer Desmond Dekker, the single was the first UK reggae number one and among the first to reach the US top ten. Most of us in the US had never heard of reggae yet and the sound was strange, yet the tune seemed oddly familiar with the lower register harmonizing vocals during each chorus reminiscent of those heard in early 60’s pop rock ‘n roll songs. That aspect of it made it sound a bit out of time and had many of us thinking we were hearing an early 60’s “golden oldie” we had somehow forgotten. It was hugely popular all the same, a catchy song with elusive lyrics that were difficult to understand except here and there. Despite “Israelites” being recorded and released in 1968, the Uni 45 discography shows its cataloguing in 1969. It debuted in the UK in March 1969 and soared to #1 for one week. It also reached #1 in Netherlands, Jamaica, South Africa, Canada, Sweden and Germany. In the US it debuted on the singles charts in May, reaching #9 on Billboard and #8 on Cash Box on July 5, 1969 (CB date). Very danceable, if you know how to dance to it … and the young lady in this video appears to know just how, with a little help from Korla Pandit on ghost organ.
I have loved this song since the second I heard it back when I was 14 and I love it just as much today, yessirree.
Gorgeous and so well played… a treasure.
I have never seen this film before, though. Chick’s pretty slinky, eh?