Thursday, August 8, 2019

Duff Guide to Ska Fast Takes: Prince Fatty featuring Big Youth and George Dekker "Get Ready" b/w "Get Ready Dub"

(Review by Steve Shafer)

Prince Fatty featuring Big Youth and George Dekker "Get Ready" b/w "Get Ready Dub" (7" vinyl single/digital, Evergreen Recordings, 2019): This extraordinary 1966 Smokey Robinson-penned and produced track for The Temptations--one of the defining songs of the 1960s (and for Motown)--has a brilliant, menacing edge to the bass and horn lines that belies the subtext to the chorus, "Get ready, 'cause here I come," which (apart from the double-entendre) was clearly a message of black empowerment and support for the civil rights movement (and probably a nod to Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" of a year earlier). The white radio and TV powers that be--and many white teenage Motown fans--took the love song lyrics at face value (and for most of the '60s, Motown head Berry Gordy didn't want any overtly controversial lyrics getting in the way of record sales), but there was another nation of receptive ears receiving the signal loud and clear. Prince Fatty's take on this soul classic (which follows recent covers of Roy Ayers' "Everybody Loves the Sunshine" and William DeVaughn's "Be Thankful for What You've Got") with the amazing George Dekker singing Eddie Kendrick's falsetto lead and Big Youth augmenting it all with his head-over-heels DJ chatting ("Maybe we could settle down/If you have children/I've got some/But we could have some more...10 to 10/This love will never really end/10 to 10/You'll never fall in love again") presents it as a straight-up love song--and he gives it the usual, fantastic Prince Fatty production. But given the times, perhaps it would have been even better if Big Youth had emphasized the hidden anti-racist aspect of the original and chatted about combating white supremacy to make the world a better place for his woman and kids...

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