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Moon Hop - Best of the Early Years 1960-'69

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Album Review

Derrick Morgan was the King of Ska almost out of the box in the early '60s, and he was as innovative as he was omnipresent on the Jamaican music scene in those heady days, racking up several hits. His impressive "Tougher Than Tough" single was arguably the first release to turn the ska corner and venture into what eventually became known as rocksteady, while his Bunny Lee-produced "Seven Letters" is often afforded the same credit as the first true reggae single. Morgan also produced early material from the likes of Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley and Garnett Silk. He had a knack for making news, as well, and Morgan's famous (and very public) ska feud with Prince Buster escalated to a point where the Jamaican government itself had to step in to calm the waters. Throw in Morgan's own "Moon Hop," which became a big hit and ultimately a skinhead anthem in Britain, and a pretty impressive pop résumé takes shape, one that is hardly served by his woefully hit or miss discography in the digital age. This 54-track, two-disc collection of Morgan's '60s output is therefore badly needed, and becomes the set to beat at this point. Included are Morgan's early ska hits, including several fine duets with Patsy Todd, the still impressive "Tougher Than Tough," several rocksteady hits, "Seven Letters," and, of course, "Moon Hop." Covering 1960 to 1969, these are the essential Derrick Morgan sides, and they form his lasting legacy.


Born: March 27, 1940 in Stewarton, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

A member of the classic first wave of Jamaican ska artists, Derrick Morgan was among the genre's founding fathers, emerging alongside pioneers including the Skatalites, Laurel Aitken, Prince Buster, and Desmond Dekker. Born in March, 1940, Morgan was raised in the Kingston area, exposed to a variety of musical sources spanning from New Orleans R&B to the choral music of the nearby church where his father served as deacon. At the age of 17, he took top honors at the annual Vere John's Opportunity...
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Moon Hop - Best of the Early Years 1960-'69, Derrick Morgan
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