Derrick Morgan, a true pioneer of Jamaican music, has been a star since the 1960s and ’70s. He has shared the ska spotlight with the likes of The Skatalites, Desmond Dekker, The Wailers, Eric ‘Monty’ Morris, The Clarendonians, Jackie Opel, Jimmy Cliff and Prince Buster and has also been prominent in both the rock steady and reggae eras.
Derrick has been booked for the upcoming Startime at Juici Patties The Verandah on Saturday July 2 as a member of the Clarendon Connection with Freddie McGregor and the Clarendonians – all natives of Clarendon returning to their roots to thrill Jamaican music lovers on their home turf.
Born on March 27, 1940 in the parish of Clarendon, Morgan, like so many other Jamaican musical greats, is a product of the legendary Vere Johns Opportunity Hour talent shows of the mid to late 50s and In 1959, he entered the recording studio for the first time, delivering two popular shuffle-boogie sides Lover Boy aka S-Corner Rock and Oh My, followed by the bolero-tinged boogie Fat Man for Duke Reid the Trojan; the acclaimed sound system boss and his Treasure Isle label; and Wigger Wee Shuffle and Leave Earth for Clement Dodd’s Studio Onelabel.
Soon, there was just no stopping the prolific Morgan and just one year later, in 1960, he created history by becoming the first artist to have the top seven songs on the national pop charts simultaneously, a feat that has never been matched. Among those hits were Don’t Call Me Daddy, In My Heart, Be Still and Meekly Wait with Yvonne Harrison.
But it was the following year that Morgan released the biggest hit of his career, You Don’t Know a duet with Patsy Todd. The Leslie Kong production which was later re-titled Housewives Choice was also the song which sparked the famous lyrical feud between Morgan and another ska great Prince Buster who accused Morgan of stealing his ideas and taking them to Kong.
The rivalry saw them exchanging heated songs like Blackhead Chiney Man, Blazing Fire, You Should Be Ashamed, Praise Without Raise, No Praise No Raise, Still Insist and Watch It Blackhead, and Blackman Again.
The dispute became so heated, even their fans were starting at each other, forcing the Jamaican government to call a cease-fire and bringing the two performers together publicly to end the feud.
When Jamaica attained Independence in 1962, Morgan recorded the first Independence song, challengingly titled Forward March which carried a message of national unity.
A pious and heartfelt man, Derrick wanted others to flourish in the harsh musical world and he went on to audition, coach and produce some of Jamaica’s greatest: Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley (Judge Not), Toots Hibbert, Max Romeo (1971 No. l hit Let the Power Fall On I), Garnet Silk and Tony Rebel’s hot-selling album Tony Rebel Meets Garnet Silk, and more recently the winning Festival Song Contest entry Jamaica Island A Boom by Stanley Beckford in 2000.
After his many decades in the business, Morgan’s influence continues to be very strong. England’s white supremacists group The Skinheads declared Morgan as being the only black person in the world that they loved, and his UK hit song Moon Hop became their national song. In response, Derrick used his music to promote racial unity in the UK.
Despite his blindness, Derrick continues to tour internationally to countries like Germany, the UK, Canada, Italy, Africa and the USA and his monumental list of hit songs continue to be heard on sound systems and radio and played by ska bands all over the world.
He is unquestionably, the King of Ska; and Startime fans are being warned to put on their their dancing shoes especially when Derrick hits the Verandah stage at the Juici Patties Complex on Saturday July 2. It will be non-stop dancing !!
Remember Startime fans, if you don’t wish to drive to and from Clarendon Park, you can take the comfortable Startime Knutsford Express shuttle to Clarendon Park from any Knutsford Express location across Jamaica – Montego Bay, Falmouth, Ocho Rios, Kingston, Mandeville, Gutters, Savlamar and Negril. Just call Knutsford Express at 971-1822, book your trip and your Startime ticket early …. and leave the driving to Knutsford Express.
If you prefer to drive then you can purchase your ticket(s) at any of the 62 Juici Patties Restaurants across Jamaica; in Mandeville at Manchester Golf Club; in Kingston at Kool 97FM, Mary Brown’s Corner Texaco Grab ‘N’ Go, Derrick Harriott Twin Gates Plaza, Devon Bourne’s Rubis HWT and in Portmore at Portmore Mall Pharmacy.
The July 2 Startime is a presentation of Juici Patties and The Verandah in association with Kool 97FM, Jamaica Observer, Sparkles Production, Singer, TVJ, Seals & Engravables, Irie FM, On Stage TV, CPTC, Christar Villas Hotel, A & E Ambulance, Kingston Hireage, Happy Ice.
Interlinc Communications – host of the startime.com.jm website and Knutsford Express.
Website : startime.com.jm
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