Desmond Dekker

The Best of Desmond Dekker [Music Club]

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Well, these 18 tracks are at least some of the best, compiling Desmond Dekker's best-known hits and a number of less-remembered gems. The album zigzags across the singer's career, from his early ska days to his heady rocksteady height to his arrival on the international scene as a reggae superstar. The sleeve notes provide an excellent pocket biography and help put many of the songs into proper perspective. The sequencing, as so often is the case, remains inexplicable, and careens merrily back and forth across genres, making it all a bit disconcerting. However, there's certainly nothing less than classic within, although a best-of collection for an artist who released so many masterpieces means fans may find that their personal favorites are absent. (What, no "Hippopotamus," "Rude Boy Train," "Get Up Edina," or "Unity"? -- add your own.) But, of course, "Israelites," "King of Ska," "Pickney Gal," and "It Mek" are included, as are a number of seminal ska offerings; "Waiting on the Wall" and "Too Much Too Soon" are here; and the disc has such rocksteady gems as "Rudy Got Soul" and "Keep a Cool Head." A one-disc best-of is never going to suffice for Dekker, so this is merely one of many compilations that fans will require.

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