Friday, May 26, 2006

I Read The News Today, Oh Boy...

Dear Friends, I've just popped by tonight for a quick chat. You see, my eye was caught by two bits of news on that stirred me sufficiently to put finger to keyboard.

First, ska & reggae stalwart Desmond Dekker died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 64. Dekker's signature hit, "Israelites," was the first reggae single to top the UK charts in 1969. After enjoying raging success in the 1970s ("It Mek," "You Can Get It If You Really Want"), his star waned and in 1984 he was declared bankrupt. Dekker's career was revived by margarine, when "Israelites" was bowdlerized for use in an annoyingly catchy British TV commercial. I had the surreal pleasure of seeing Dekker perform at a Cambridge May Ball, where he wowed the crowd of tuxedoed jeunesse doree in spite of being so herbalized that he came on stage bellowing "Good evenin' Oxford!!" You can read his obituary here and Mark Lamarr's affectionate tribute here. You will probably see "Israelites" popping up all over blogland this weekend, but I offer it to you anyway:

Desmond Dekker - Israelites (buy here)

(EDIT: Dang, how right I was! Magnificent Merz of Mars Needs Guitars pipped me to the post with a pithy, eloquent tributette, and even shares my exquisite taste in graphics. Social death, or wot??)

Next, it was with a twinge of wistful melancholy that I learned Gorky's Zygotic Mynci have decided to call it a day. Though I would never claim to be a rabid fan of Gorky's, I always found their brand of Welsh indie-psych-folk whimsy most groovily pleasant. Indeed, when perusing my CD collection I was somewhat surprised to realize how much of their work I had in fact accumulated over the years. While Singer Euros Childs and guitarist Richard James are already pursuing solo careers, the first three Gorky's albums are slated for re-release this year - keep your eyes peeled. You can find out more about these druids here or at their official website. And herewith below are a few of the ditties that make me smile:

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Merched yn neud gwallt eu gilydd (buy here). Dearest Wife, who amongst her many talents counts a good knowledge of Welsh, told me a while back this translates along the lines of "Girls combing each other's hair"

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Young Girls & Happy Endings (buy here). "You know young girls like happy endings." Aww, and so do I!

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Iechyd Da (buy here). Means "Good health," apparently.

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Sweet Johnny (buy here). Starts sweet, then goes a bit manic, then goes sweet again.

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Mow the lawn (buy here). I sing this every time I do.

And so, mes cheries, do enjoy the weekend. We are having a 64th birthday party for my dear mother-in-law in Vancouver General Hospital's Palliative Care Ward lounge, and I must say we all intend to celebrate it both joyfully and fiercely.