Derrick “Duckie” Simpson the “Gong Gong Gullie” is the founder and leader for reggae’s BLACK UHURU. Although going through numerous lead singers and musicians they have remained to be one of the most recognized and prolific reggae band for over 50 years.
The roots of BLACK UHURU were formed in Kingston Jamaica’s Waterhouse district also known as “Firehouse” in the early 60′s. Though considered to be one of Jamaica’s toughest neighborhoods it’s home to several other reggae singers and musicians. It was where Duckie Simpson grew up and learned to sing from boyhood friends Winston “Pipe” Matthews and Lloyd “Bread” McDonald of Wailing Souls and Bob Marley. He recorded four tracks with Wailing Souls before forming his own group.
The original Uhuru’s (Swahili for freedom) were Derrick “Duckie” Simpson, Euvin “Don Carlos” Spencer and Rudolph “Garth” Dennis. They only recorded a few singles “Folk Songs” “Time Is On Our Side” and “Slow Coach” before separating. Don went solo and Garth joined Wailing Souls.
BLACK UHURU’s long success has allowed them to become ambassadors of reggae while earning several achievements in the music industry. With 14 full length albums, 7 instrumental dub albums, and 4 live albums they have the highest record sales in reggae music behind Bob Marley. The album Red was voted #23 for Rolling Stone’s list of “100 Greatest Albums of the 1980′s. Aside from winning the first reggae grammy they have been nominated 5 more times. They are the only reggae group to have won the Diamond Awards of Excellence in 1994.
Despite all of BLACK UHURU’s change of different singers and musicians the one thing that has always remained is Derrick “Duckie” Simpson. Much respect to a legendary figure for Reggae Music. The group is presently working on releasing a new album soon to come. It features Duckie on lead.