Derrick Morgan – Reggae Train-The Best Of Live In London
Burning Sounds Records
February 27, 2023
Website Record Label
1. Man In The Street (Instrumental) (3:10)
2. Reggae Train (3:01)
3. Forward March (3:07)
4. In My Heart (4:03)
5. Ben Johnson Day (2:36)
6. Don’t Call Me Daddy (2:00)
7. Johnny Pram Pram (3:26)
1. Miss Lulu (3:24)
2. Ride The Rhythm (4:10)
3. Conquering Ruler (I Am The Conqueror) (3:27)
4. Medley Number 1 (5:25)
-4a The Hop
-4b (I’m Gonna ) Put It Down
-4c 0.0.7. (Shanty Town)
5. Blazing Fire
6. Skinhead (Medley Number 2) (5:03)
-6a Moon Hop
-6b 54-46 Was My Number
Derrick Morgan was born in March 1940, in the district of Stewarton in the parish of Clarendon, Mocho Clarendon. Born with a chronic hereditary eye disease causing his eyesight to grow increasingly weaker as he grew older. His failing eyesight soon forced him to give up his office job and so “I turned to singing” and at age of 17, Derrick entered the Vere John’s Opportunity Show at the Palace Theatre in Kingston. After that, he started performing with the comedy duo Bim & Bam over the next two years. He made his first recordings for Duke Reid and in 1959 he recorded his first hit Fatman. When this record was released Derrick was already hugely popular in the dancehalls of Kingston as his releases were being kept exclusive by both Duke Reid and Coxsone for their dances.
Derrick quickly became the hottest artist on the island and in 1960 he held the Number 1 to 7 slots in the Top Ten at one time! The next year he recorded his biggest hit of all time, Housewive’s Choice, a duet with Millicent “Patsy” Todd. After leaving producer Prince Buster he teamed up with Leslie Kong. This departure led to an entertaining, and successful, exchange of insults on singles like Blazing Fire, Black Head Chiney Man and No Raise No Praise. He started his Hop Records label in 1967 and came up with popular sides like Red Rum Ball by Lloyd & Devon, and his own hits, Conquering Ruler and Gimme Back. The success of these tunes, and his distribution deal with Island Records, led in 1968 to the release of the LP Derrick Morgan And His Friends. (Read our review)
Derrick Morgan recorded prolifically throughout the ’60s and the ’70s. An imposing figure invariably topped with an almost brimless pork-pie hat, his cool, hip, and rhythmic voice, enlivened by the occasional excited yelp, applied itself successfully to a variety of styles from Ska to Rock steady and reggae and rapidly became a popular figure with reggae’s UK skinhead followers. He’s still active and Storybook Revisited, his new album released in 2019, continued to keep his fans entertained.
For more Derrick Morgan check these interviews on our site: Stephen Cooper Interview and Peter I Interview.
During his 2008 London visit, his performance at The 100 Club London was recorded and released on DVD. This memorable event can now also be enjoyed on LP, noting, that a number of songs have been omitted due to time limitations. However, not to worry, as a bonus, a CD has been added containing the entire concert in digital clarity. That can rightly be called “value for money”! The core of the band that accompanied him were members of Tony Phillips’ Ruff Cutt band, joined by saxophonist Brian Edwards and Patrick Tenyue on trumpet.
Although Derrick’s health was not optimal even then, he still managed to put on a smashing show for the audience, helped excellently by the smooth playing of the backing band. He is one of the few living reggae legends who has closely followed the development of Jamaican music and, more importantly, played an active role in it. The advantage of such a long career is that you can compile a set list with only hits, which are immediately recognized after the first chords and are often loudly sung along by the audience. And that is exactly what took place that night, with him covering as an extra some tunes by fellow artists such as Toots and The Maytals and Desmond Dekker. In fairness, his voice has lost some of its power over the years, but that was taken for granted by the fans (and us). From ska, through rocksteady and early reggae to reggae, all styles were presented to the crowd by Derrick. For those in attendance, an evening not soon to be forgotten!