Thursday, May 25, 2006

Desmond Dekker

MP3 dot com and radiojamaica dot com are reporting that Desmond Dekker died today. Dekker had the first international hit for purely Jamaican music with 1968's The Israelites.

I first heard the song, with relatively difficult to understand lyrics but an utterly charming vocal performance, in Gus Van Sant's movie Drugstore Cowboy, which remains my favorite GVS film and one of my favorite films regardless of director. The song plays early in the road trip sequence of the film, and the song's sense of bondage and longing for freedom works well with film's portrayal of drug addicted outlaw life, romantic and desperate.

If you've never heard the song, I have a few versions for you. First, a pretty straight up performance of the song, very faithful to the original.

Next, let's try a much more recent performance, which I believe comes from 2003, from Later with Jools Holland. This one is a lot of fun to see, because he's much older (around 62, I think), but he still delivers a great vocal performance. Next to the original, I'd check this one out.

There's also what I think is a 70's-era performance on YouTube, with the song all jacked up and slightly dancier.

Of course, I think the best way to enjoy the song is to sit back with your copy of Drugstore Cowboy and enjoy the movie. Matt Dillon truly pwnz0rz the role, and this movie was made well before Gus Van Sant got infected with The Suck. It's that magic moment when everything was right.

1 comment:

Jason Goldman said...

Very nice send off for Desmond. Watching these really makes me want to watch Drugstore Cowboy again.

I love the lyric "Shirt them a-tear up, trousers are gone. / I don't want to end up like Bonnie and Clyde."

And the dude in the 2002 video with the clock for a head ... I'm not sure what that's about exactly.