“Israelites” was originally released in 1968, becoming the first reggae song to hit number one in the U.K.
That version is a classic reggae/rocksteady song, performed with the band “The Aces”, and is certainly very good.
However, my favourite version is the re-recorded 1980 one, which was released on Stiff Records. It’s in the style of 2-tone ska, so it’s faster.
Much of the classic vocal remains the same. Which is great, because those vocal harmonies on the chorus are timeless!
What is more amazing about being number one in the U.K, is that nobody could really understand Desmond Dekker’s thick Jamaican accent. Which just shows how great the rhythm and melody are.
The song tells of the struggle of Rastas, marginalised from society and existing on its fringes, especially at that time.
Ohhhhh, mi Israelites!