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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

DESMOND DEKKER

By Tom Pryor

Rockin' Steady: The Best Of Desmond Dekker
Rhino

Desmond Dekker is one of the most overlooked hitmakers in the history of Jamaican pop music. Though he's usually considered a ska artist, the singer's greatest contribution came during the crucial rocksteady and early reggae years of the later '60s. In fact, he scored the first-ever Rastafarian-themed hit on U.S. radio with his 1967 single "Israelites." This collection of Dekker's singles covers that and more, with an assortment of his ska, rocksteady, reggae and pop work including such classics as "007 (Shanty Town)," "It Mek" and "Pickney Gal," all of which reveal Dekker's well-cultivated social conscience.