Derroll, like so many of the more technically gifted performers we booked, was introduced to us by Ian Anderson (it was only afterwards he told us an album was about to be released on his label - joke Ian honest!).
He was born in Portland, Oregon on 27th November 1925.
Derroll was first brought to Europe by Ramblin' Jack Elliott and his wife June in 1957. They toured together for four years before Elliott returned to the States leaving Derroll to fend for himself, something he did pretty well finally marrying Danny and settling in Antwerp.
He was a man with style and presence reaching legend status in Europe with his unique banjo style. Meeting Pete Seeger after the war persuaded him to take up the banjo. He was a friend of the stars including the Animals, Them, the Small Faces, Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Donovan. Baez indeed made his song 'Portland Town' famous. He appeared in Dylan's famed documentary 'Don't Look Back' in 1965. Our very own Allan Taylor wrote of Derroll:
'Though now over 70 years old, his opinions, his ideas and his street learned philosophy is as fresh and to a certain extent idealistic as a young man of twenty. He never lost sight of the dream that we all shared when we started out 'on the road'. Not for him fame or glory or money, just the joy of playing music and getting by.'
solo vinyl albums were 'Portland Town' (1967), 'Feelin' Fine'
(1972), 'Movin' On' (1974), 'Along The Way' (1977) and 'Live' (date
less clear). Only two CDs 'Live' (1994) and 'Songs of the Banjoman'
(1997) - the latter may still be available through Amazon to name but one.
Apparently he was also a talented painter, writer and poet..
Derroll died in Antwerp on February 6th 2000 aged 75.