Now that 40 years have passed since he first arrived at the top of the Jamaican music charts, it can be easy to forget what a popular and artistically influential singer Derrick Morgan was from the 1950s into the 1970s. There was a moment in 1960 when Morgan's recordings actually held the top seven places on the pop charts; more impressively, though, he managed to change and develop with the music, dominating the music scene throughout the ska, rocksteady and early reggae periods. Derrick: Top the Pop documents his work during the music's
transitional period, as the galloping backbeat of ska was stretching out into the more elastic and deliberate rock steady rhythm that would dominate until it slowed down even further into what would soon be called reggae. As was often the case with performers of the time, he drew quite a bit of his repertoire from American R&B hits of the day; note, for example, his brilliant renditions of Leiber & Stoller's "Stand By Me" and Doc Pomus' "My First Taste of Love." He teams up beautifully with Pauline Watson on "Give You My Love," lopes coolly over the chugging rocksteady beat on "Send Me Some Loving," and steals Lee "Scratch" Perry's "People Funny Boy" rhythm for "Hard Time." The sound quality varies from lousy to fair throughout, but the musical quality shines through undeniably and consistently.