Derrick Crooks (b. 1937, Westmoreland, Jamaica, West Indies) initially performed alongside his brother Sidney and Glen Adams as part of the embryonic Pioneers in 1962. The group released their debut, ‘Sometime’, in 1965 for producer Leslie Kong, before joining Ken Lack’s Caltone enterprise. While the Pioneers’ career gained momentum, Crooks pursued his recording career alongside an assortment of vocalists. He enrolled other singers and together they performed as the Slickers. The Pioneers and Slickers were often mistaken for one another because of their similar vocal stylings. The Slickers’ debut release, ‘Nana’, produced by Neremiah Reid, was a commercial success in Jamaica and flourished in the burgeoning UK reggae market. By 1969 the group were recording with Leslie Kong, who released the popular ‘Run Fatty’ and with Joe Gibbs, who released ‘Mother Matty’, alongside the cautionary ‘Man Beware’. In 1970 the Slickers recorded with Byron Lee, who is credited as the producer of the group’s distinguished hit, ‘Johnny Too Bad’. The tune was featured on the soundtrack to The Harder They Come (according to the album’s sensationalist liner-notes, one of the writers was reputed to have gone underground while the other was on death row!). The group released sporadic hits through to the mid-70s, including ‘Fight Against The Law’ and ‘St Jago De La Vega’. In 1978, ‘Johnny Too Bad’ was revitalized by Bunny Wailer and was included on the sadly underratedProtest.
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