Couch+Aggrolites Dekker Tribute Album To Be Released


Desmond Dekker

It was 70 years ago tomorrow that Desmond Dekker was born and it’s been a little over 5 that he passed away. Time marches to the Ska beat and the “King of Ska” is dearly missed. His legend and music lives on of course as we get ready to celebrate his life and music yet again. We’ll play some of his tunes in the clubs this week and into the next. Anything at all to remind people of this great singer and the songs he crafted. It’s also fitting then and great to hear that the Dekker tribute album that was recorded in 2008 will finally be released. What you didn’t hear about it? Well check this out.

Back in 2008 Suzanne Couch a Jamaican artist that has released 2 solo CD’s and been featured with Sly & Robbie as well with reggae band Native was at a party when she heard the slick melodies of a rocksteady song. She heading straight to the selector’s booth to ask who the artist was. That song was “Fu Man Chu” by Desmond Dekker. She knew who Desmond was and his hits such as “007”, “Isrealites” and “Honor Your Mother” but not his deep catalog it seems. She immediately wanted to record some of his material: “That’s when I decided to do an entire album of his songs, he was such an incredible songwriter,” Couch gushed. “Desmond Dekker is like the forgotten soul of Jamaican music.”

So she headed to Los Angeles io December 2008 and hooked up with who else but the top early Reggae band in the area – The Aggrolites. Not only were The Aggrolites involved but famed Jamaican bass player Phil Chen, who is based in LA, was called in to lend a hand along with The Wailing Souls! What happened in the studio has become a 13 track tribute to the flamboyant singer who died from a heart attack in London in 2006. The tracks were recorded using vintage equipment to get the most authentic feel of early Desmond hits as befitting The Aggrolites style.

Take a minute to watch this promo video taken during the recording of the album. You can see the old Aggrolites (minus Jay who had left by that time) including Korey (with fro on drums), Brian Dixon, Jesse Wagner, Jeff Roffredo and Roger Rivas.

Suzanne Couch – Dekker will finally be released on CD/LP via Rocking Records out of Germany on Sept 16th, 2011. There will also be a 45 release of “Nincompoop” backed with “Honour Your Mother”. Jambila Music will handle a U.K. release but no Stateside release as of yet. Maybe this will get someone to take notice and give it a go.

You can sample one track “Nincompoop” from the album below. You make the call on if this album should have stayed in the vaults or if it’s good enough to add to the collection. I have not heard enough of it yet to make a decision either way. It’s hard not to argue with some people that ask “Why” though – it’s a tough act to follow indeed. If anyone can pull it off though the Aggrolites could.

Sample “Nincompoop” [audio:]

1 Rude Boy Train
2 The Israelites
3 Don`t Blame Me
4 You`ve Got Troubles
5 Nincompoop
6 Young Generation
7 Honour Your Mother
8 Ah It Mek
9 Intensified
10 Fu Man Chu
11 Personal Possession
12 007
13 It`s A Shame

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I've been involved in the Los Angeles music scene since at least 1995 going to shows, promoting, spinning records and running labels. Ska and Early Reggae are my passion among other things of course.