Album Info

April 26, 2005
Reggae, Ska, Bluebeat, Rocksteady

Album Review

What Desmond Dekker fans really want is a comprehensive compilation of the legend's back catalog, but they've been disappointed time and time again. However, You Can Get It If You Really Want: The Definitive Collection finally delivers the goods with a two-CD, career-spanning overview. The set begins at the beginning, with Dekker's 1963 debut single, "Honour Your Mother and Father," then charts his progress across the ska years and into rocksteady. As usual, there's a bit of scrimping on the former era to make room for the rude boy icon who emerged in the latter. Reggae's arrival created a rough break with the past for many producers, but not Dekker's mentor, Leslie Kong, and the set flows seamlessly from rocksteady into reggae. By now Dekker had begun his climb to international stardom, with disc two opening with his 1970 hit "Pickney Gal." The singles just kept coming, with the title track another international smash. In 1971, Kong died of a heart attack; the second half of disc two is given over to the aftermath, as Dekker tried to regain his footing and his international standing. He never really did, but never faded away entirely either, with occasional new albums, a stream of compilations, and exultant live performances helping to maintain his reputation. While this is a definitive overview, it's not a complete collection of Dekker's work, not even of the Kong years. The omission of "Bongo Gal" is surprising, the lack of "Writing on the Wall" perhaps a matter of taste, but inevitably a few of your faves will be missing as well. So, not the perfect collection, but pretty close.
Jo-Ann Greene, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Honour Your Mother and Father
  2. Parents
  3. Labour for Learning
  4. Jeserine
  5. King of Ska
  6. Get Up Edina
  7. This Woman
  8. Mount Zion
  9. Soldering
  10. It's a Shame
  11. Wise Man
  12. 007 (Shanty Town)
  13. Rudy Got Soul
  14. Rude Boy Train
  15. Mother's Young Gal
  16. Young Generation
  17. Unity
  18. Keep a Cool Head
  19. Mother Long Tongue
  20. Sabotage
  21. Pretty Africa
  22. It Pays
  23. Beautiful and Dangerous
  24. Mother Pepper
  25. Don't Blame Me
  26. Intensified '68 (Music Like Dirt)
  27. Fu Man Chu
  28. Israelites
  29. It Mek
  30. Problems
  31. Medley: Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da/Wise Man [Medley]
  32. Pickney Gal
  33. Generosity
  34. Perseverance
  35. You Can Get It If You Really Want
  36. Coomyah
  37. You Got Soul
  38. Polka Dot
  39. (Where Did It Go) The Song We Used to Sing
  40. Get Up Little Suzie
  41. My Reward
  42. Archie Wah Wah
  43. Hippopotomus
  44. Licking Stick
  45. Live and Learn (The More You Live)
  46. Warlock
  47. Life of Opportunity
  48. It Gotta Be So
  49. First Time for a Long Time
  50. Mother Nature
  51. Beware
  52. Sing a Little Song
  53. (I'm A) Busted Lad
  54. Money and Friends
  55. Moving On
  56. Book of Rules
  57. Hot City
  58. Dance the Night Away [Live]
  59. Jamaica Ska