The trouble with artists that are funny is that you can easily miss the fact that they are good players too. I suspect that Derek Brimstone is one such artist. (Noel Murphy is another).
Derek was born in Islington, London in 1932 and educated at Tottenham Grammar. In the early '60s Derek was studying classical guitar - there, I bet you didn't know that. Then a revelation in Hemel Hempstead - not many of those - on visiting the Spinning Wheel folk club. Inspired by Big Bill Broonzy and Davey Graham life changed, learning his craft at THE best time (NB all people of my age say the '60s was THE best time) in the company of the likes of Maddy Prior, Donovan, Sandy Denny and Derrol Adams. In 1965 he won the solo artist prize in a national competition held at the Cambridge Festival and a long and successful career was under way.
We booked him first in the summer of 1972 and I'm sure we did so because he was a good laugh. His tall stories and one liners in a laid back style guaranteed a good night. Sorry Derek but we missed the point. The Melody Maker said he had, 'one of the most precise claw-picking techniques in the business'. We don't think this was the Hertfordshire lobster business either!
For me, the banjo picking is the really impressive bit, coupled with the feeling that he really loved the songs he had chosen.
It would be pointless to list the artists he has toured with or the countries he has appeared in because, if you name them, you'd be correct! Suffice to say Derek is an institution in the folk world.
Check out his current CD 'All those Songs' and its lovely cover designed I would guess by a grandaughter, or the cassettes 'About Time' and 'Derek Brimstone Live'