Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 7/14/15: Derrick Morgan’s Hop Label

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An early rocksteady hit for the Hop Label

Hello Bovine Ska and Rocksteady Listeners!

This past week Lily and I started off with two sets of rare ska, beginning with Larry Lawrence side on Beverley’s called “Garden Of Eden.”  We ended that first set with a very early cut from The Sensations entitled “Juvenile Delinquent” that they recorded for Treasure Isle in 1966.  Our mento set started off with Lord Power taking a mento classic and converting it into an advert for “Special Amber Calypso.” We ended the first hour with a six song set of rocksteady, ending with the great Roy Panton and The Cabeleros performing “Control Your Temper.”  We then dove right into our spotlight of Derrick Morgan’s Hop Label….

Known as one of the first superstars of Jamaican music, we know Derrick Morgan as a star singer. After recording for Duke Reid, Prince Buster, Coxone Dodd, and Simeon Smith in Jamaica and Emil Shalit in England, Derrick  Morgan arrived at the Beverley’s label. At Beverley’s, Derrick not only sang for Leslie Kong but also ran auditions, discovering Bob Marley, Desmond Dekker, and The Maytals. Furthermore, he ran rehearsals with singers before they recorded, and he also began producing records for Beverley’s as well. Consequently, Derrick was more than prepared to run his own label. So, when ska transitioned into rocksteady, Derrick opened his Hop label, named after his ska hit,under the pseudonym Seymour Morgan and backed by the mighty talent of Lynn Taitt and The Jets as the house band. The first release on the Hop label, Lloyd & Devon’s Red Bum Ball, was a huge hit, and as a result, Derrick continued on with his Hop label. We started off this spotlight on Hop with this first release and hit for Morgan’s label.

In these early tracks, you’ll hear Lynn Taitt on guitar. With Hop productions, Lynn and Derrick worked very collaboratively, with Lynn composing the guitar and bass line and Derrick arranging the vocals. The two worked closely from 1966 up until 1968, when Derrick Morgan moved to England for a second time to produce records for Pama’s Crab subsidiary. After about a year in England, Derrick returned to Jamaica, and picked back up on his Hop releases, recording in reggae, now that rocksteady had fully transitioned into reggae. We then focused the spotlight on rare Hop reggae releases before playing our favorite cut from the label.

This show is available for you to listen on Mixcloud, right HERE!

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