Friday, 22 May 2020

"Derrick Morgan And His Friends" by DERRICK MORGAN and VARIOUS ARTISTS – 1968 UK LP on Island Records featuring The Viceroys, Pauline Morgan and The Loveletts, The Consumates, The Groovers, Alva Lewis, Neremiah Reid, The Black Brothers, The Inventors, The King Twins, Dawn Penn, Frank Brown, Zanda Ferron, Tony King and more (July 2019 UK Doctor Bird 2CD Expanded Edition Reissue – Andy Pearce Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...







"...Food Of Love..."

I've been raving for some time now about how good these Doctor Bird CD Reissues are and DBCDD-039 is another belter.

Listed in Record Collector Price Guides at between £150 to £200 for an original British-pressed LP in Mono (that sum in no way reflects just how rare and desirable this fab album is) – this massively expanded 2CD reissue is centred around the 1968 Island Records 12-track album "Derrick Morgan And His Friends" as pictured on the cover.

With a whopping 24 Bonus Tracks on top of the 12-track album - many rare Island and Unity single-sides from the spring of 1968 make their digital debut here. And along with a seminal genre album that has been off-radar for over 52 years, you even get a few Previously Unreleased Tracks too. There's a lotta Rock Steady to get steady to, so let's have at it...

UK released Friday 12 July 2019 - "Derrick Morgan And His Friends" by DERRICK MORGAN and VARIOUS ARTISTS on Doctor Bird DBCDD-039 (Barcode 5013929273931) is a 36-Track 2CD Reissue/Remaster than plays out as follows:

CD1 (47:03 Minutes):
1. Bad Luck On Me - DERRICK MORGAN [Side 1]
2. Father Killam - DERRICK MORGAN
3. Tears On My Pillow - DERRICK MORGAN
4. Ain't That Crazy - DERRICK MORGAN
5. Lagga Head - DERRICK MORGN
6. Stumbling Block - DERRICK MORGAN and THE VICEROYS
7. I've Been Searching - PAULINE MORGAN and THE LOVELETTS [Side 2]
8. Stop The Wedding - PAULINE MORGAN and THE LOVELETTS
9. Give Me A Chance - PAULINE MORGAN and THE CONSUMATES
10. The More They Get - PAULINE MORGAN and THE CONSUMATES
11. You've Been Saying Things - THE BLACK BROTHERS
12. Music Be The Food Of Love - THE INVENTORS
Tracks 1 to 12 are the album "Derrick Morgan And His Friends" - released spring 1968 in the UK on Island Records ILP 990 in Mono.

BONUS TRACKS:
13. Conquering Ruler - DERRICK MORGAN & THE VICEROYS (March 1968 UK 45 on Island WI-3094, A - for B-side see Track 16, Disc 2)
14. You've Got To Cry - THE GROOVERS (January 1968 UK 45 on Island WI-3080, A - for B-side see Track 16)
15. Lip & Tongue - THE VICEROYS (March 1968 UK 45 on Island WI-3095, A - for B-side see Track 4, Disc 2)
16. I'm Indebted - ALVA LEWIS  (January 1968 UK 45 on Island WI-3080, B - for A-side see Track 14)
17. Family War - NEREMIAH REID (March 1968 UK 45 on Island WI-3102, A - for B-side see Track 3, Disc 2)
18. Someone - DERRICK MORGAN & PAULINE (December 1967 UK 45 on Island WI-3079, A - for B-side see Track 7, Disc 2)

CD2 (47:52 minutes):
1. Gimme Back - DERRICK MORGAN (March 1968 UK 45 on Island WI-3101, A)
2. Send Requests - THE VICEROYS (March 1968 UK 45 on Island WI-3101, B)
3. Give Me That Love - NEREMIAH REID (March 1968 UK 45 on Island WI-3102, B - for A-side see Track 17, Disc 1)
4. When Am I Gonna Be Free - DAWN PENN (March 1968 UK 45 on Island WI-3095, B - for A-side see Track 15, Disc 1)
5. Give It To Him - THE VICEROYS (as THE HOT TOPS) - Not Originally Released In The UK
6. Every Day (True, True, True) - ZANDA FERRON - Not Originally Released In The UK
7. Do You Love Me - DERRICK & PAULINE (December 1967 UK 45 on Island WI-3079, B - for A-side see Track 18, Disc 1)
8. Some Come, Some Go - FRANK BROWN (March 1968 UK 45 on Island WI-3103, B - for A-side see Track 14, Disc 2)
9. Give Me Loving - THE BLACK BROTHERS - Not Originally Released In The UK
10. Let Him Go - THE VICEROYS - Not Originally Released In The UK
11. A Prisoner In Love - DERRICK MORGAN - Not Originally Released
12. Lonely World - ZANDA FERRON - Not Originally Released In The UK
13. Treat Me Right (Trying To Keep Me Down) THE KING TWINS (Errol Dunkley) - Not Originally Released In The UK
14. Do It Now - THE CONSUMATES (March 1968 UK 45 on Island WI-3103, A - for B-side see Track 8, Disc 2)
15. Bedweight - DERRICK MORGAN (1970 UK 45 on Unity UN 569, B-side to "The Conqueror")
16. Red Rum Ball - LLOYD & DEVON (March 1968 UK 45 on Island WI-3094, B - for A-side see Track 13, Disc 1)
17. Bum Ball (Chapter II) - TONY KING (December 1970 UK 45 on Smash SMA-2302, A and 1970 UK 45 on Unity UN 565, B – for A see Track 18)
18. More Balls - MARC ANTHONY & THE JETS (December 1970 UK 45 on Smash SMA-2302, A and 1970 UK 45 on Unity UN 565, A)

Compiled by Reggae and Ska historian and aficionado LAURENCE CANE-HONEYSETT (Author of "Young Gifted And Black: The Story Of Trojan Records" – see my Review) – the 16-page booklet offers up two pages of those uber-rare single labels (nine on each) – Island, Unity, Morgan's own Hop Records, Jamaican white labels as well as black and white snaps on DM in his trademark Pork Pie hat. There are interviews conducted across the decades with the great man that include contributions from Bunny Lee. The distinctive orange and black eye Island Records label for "Derrick Morgan And Friends" is repro'd on Page 7 while the album's rear sleeve (advertising all those tasty 1967 impossible to find Island and Sue LPs) is on the last page of the booklet.

You get track by track credits and mastering is by one of my fave Audio Engineers – ANDY PEARCE – a name Universal has used for Budgie, Free, Rory Gallagher, ELP, Spooky Tooth, Wishbone Ash and loads of these difficult to get right Reggae compilations (him and his audio partner Matt Wortham have mastered over 50 of these sets so they know their way around a few tape boxes and vinyl dubs). Given the recordings vintage and notorious made-in-a-bucket origins – the audio here is once again kicking. I'll never be able to afford these sevens or the LP and to have it here in such cool Audio is – well, cool. To the music...

Unusual for the time, all 12 tracks on the LP were not singles and their flipsides, but exclusive to it. That irresistible chug-rhythms kick in straight away with "Bad Luck On Me" - will someone hear my plea - Derrick asks - yes we will mate. "Tears On My Pillow" would be covered by so many - here its simple Rock Steady beat also features a neat guitar solo. There's a new bird across the street that's making Derrick take notice in "Ain't That Crazy" while he riles against stupidity in local youths in "Lagga Head". Other faves on the album are "Stop The Wedding" where Pauline Morgan sounds like Reggae Girl Group and the fantastic vocalist in The Consumates commenting on greed with "The More They Get".

Island Records enthusiasts will look down those WI catalogue numbers and beam. Derrick's "Conquering Ruler" starts a run of ten rarities - each with that identikit chug-rhythm. Highlights include the mind your "Lip & Tongue" walkie-talkie song by The Viceroys, the soft and pretty "I'm Indebted" by Alva Lewis and "Family War" by Neremiah Reid - a co-write between Derrick and Duke Reid. CD2 opens with a 1968 version of "Gimme Back" while Neremiah Reid tackles another co-write with Duke on the "Give Me That Love" love song. Of the songs not previously released in the UK - "A Prisoner In Love" feels like a real find (lovely audio). This is no time to relax Derrick demands in the rather cool "Bedweight". And on it goes...

For sure hearing 36 songs with essentially the same Rock Steady rhythms and sound can be trying after a while, but this is a typically great Doctor Bird reissue - making available once again music that shouldn't be condemned to the Brixton Market of over 50 years ago. Big red bum ball and a smile...

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