Reviews Zone

Desmond Dekker: You Can Get It If You Really Want: Expanded Edition (Doctor Bird) 13th July 2018




5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)




My talented old mate Stanley Samuel played in Desmond Dekker’s band. He invited me to go see them years ago at a big venue in Northampton. A stormin’ night and both Desmond and the band sounded awesome. Place was rammed.

That was many years after his chart success, but the man was a legend and still at the height of his powers. The day I wrote his obituary for a national music magazine, and I asked Stan for some anecdotes and memories for the tribute, was a very sad day indeed.

Desmond Dekker died on 24th May 2006 of a heart attack. But his music lives on as a solid legacy. Fitting testament to that statement is this fine new release from the Doctor Bird label.

Pretty special too, because it is the first time this Trojan album has been released on CD. One of that iconic label’s best-selling releases, and pretty apt then that they are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.

The expanded version here gives us the original dozen tracks, and another 11 bonus cuts, all on one disc. It features the three major UK hits, “You Can Get It If You Really Want It,” – which the great Jimmy Cliff wrote and was featured in his cult film “The Harder They Come” in 1972 – “Pickney Gal” and “Sing A Little Song”.

Soon after Desmond’s version of “You Can Get It If You Really Want”, had climbed to number two in the UK singles chart in the summer of 1970, Trojan released the album of the same title.

It fast became one of their biggest selling LPs, yet despite its popularity and healthy sales figures, it has not been available on CD. Until now. The bonus tracks are Desmond’s complete early 1970s output for Creole Records, including “Sing A Little Song”.

Much to smile about here, to remember one of Jamaica’s greatest ever artists. They don’t make ’em like this man any more!


By Simon Redley





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