Derek Morris aka DJ Derek is a young at heart 69 year old ex-accountant who has been playing Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae and Soul for many years now. He’s from Bristol, and has influenced bands like Smith and Mighty and Massive Attack as well as being a known face around Bristol’s St. Pauls area.
He plays out using a twin set of Sony mini-disc players, a great alternative to lugging around loads of vinyl I suppose. His set was a great mix of classic tunes and newer digital releases, punctuated by his trademark growling patois that he picked up by hanging around a Bristol barber shop. A highlight of his set for me was the couple of tracks he played off the “Toots in Memphis” album from 1988, in which Toots Hibbert re-interprets songs by artists like Al Green and Otis Redding alongside The Memphis Horns. Good to hear that played loud.
Every now and then he’ll take a break to put some “nicotine in his alcohol stream”, and throughout the evening there’s a queue of punters eager to have their picture taken with him. The young ladies in particular really seem to like him, he’s got a Sid James kinda thing going on with them. 🙂
He’s good natured, funny on the microphone, outgoing and plays great tunes. The fact that he’s nearly 70 doesn’t come into it. He’s just someone who loves playing good music. That’s all you can ask from any DJ.
A great 20 minute documentary, with the man himself explaining how he got started.
And check out his cameo role as the DJ in the church hall disco in Dizzee rascal’s video for “Dirtee Disco”
And sticking with the theme of Ska, Gus Berger a good friend of mine, made a great film about Duke Vin and the birth of Ska in the UK. A film that could do with a proper release, check out the trailer here: