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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

DESMOND DEKKER

By Paul-Emile Comeau
Published September 8, 2005

You Can Get It If You Really Want
Trojan/Sanctuary

This 58-track, two-CD set spans 40 years and is subtitled The Definitive Collection, although several previously released Dekker collections could have gotten away with that title. The first CD (1963-1969) covers the ’60s, which takes in some of Dekker’s ska and rocksteady songs as well as his big hits of the era, most notably “007 (Shanty Town),” “Israelites” and its followup, “It Mek.” Disc one closes with a previously unreleased rendition of the Beatles’ “Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da” taken from a BBC session. Disc two (1969-1993) contains the set’s title track, the famous Jimmy Cliff song, and other hits such as “Pickney Gal” and “Sing A Little Song.” The ’80s material is more sparsely represented. Only a few tracks are included from his early ’80s stint with the Stiff label and the disc closes with “Jamaica Ska,” the only track from Dekker’s 1993 album with the Specials. The informative booklet opens up into a poster and includes as much information as most fans will need. There are a few valleys in between the peaks but, in general, this is a very good collection, although maybe not definitive.