AuthorTopic: Derroll Adams Website


Mike writes
« on: January 14th, 2015 »

I am so happy that I discovered the website dedicated to Derroll.
I first met Derroll in Brussels in 1964. I really don’t remember the exact circumstances, but he was living with a young girl and I think there were babies around.
They were doing window dressings for department stores.
I was busking, singing in bars, restaurants, and Pol’s nightclub, with a Canadian guitarist.
Several months later I was in London, I read about a concert featuring Derroll. I met up with him. Her remembered me and treated me like a long lost friend.
We struck up a fast friendship. Derroll was palling around with Donovan. I accompanied Derroll to his concerts and we would meet up with Donovan and his crew afterwards.
It was and exciting and scary time for a 19 year old lad from Cincinnati. Scary because if you were seen with Donovan, by the throngs of young school girls, you would be mobbed and clothes would be ripped.
I remember Derroll as and extremely kind and mellow soul as well as a great banjo man.
He told me many stories about Jack Elliott, Odetta, and many others.
We spent only a short time together before I returned to the U.S.
Until now I could find only a small amount of information on him.
Thank you for your hard work and dedication.

Mike Kahn


Klaus writes
« on: April 23rd, 2014 »

Dear Danny Adams,
I saw Derroll Adams, I think it was 69, in a small club called “Impuls” in my hometown. And from that moment, I was infected by him and his kindly music.
Today, when I grab my own banjo, certainly the Derroll Aams Banjo, I bold it after a concert in the middel of the 70th like a poor man, I ever think about him and his music.
If you have any problems to become the WDRrecording, feel free to contact me, because the restricted copyright law in my country... but you must have it, I think. It is a hommage to Derroll Adams 65 birthday and was sending 30.11.1990.
The adress to become it: Good luck to you and thank you for the music like “I’m feelin’ fine”
I’m sorry about my english, but it is, what it is.

Klaus Balnis


Franz writes
« on: March 3rd, 2014 »

To the best of my knowledge I never met or even heard of Derroll Adams until today. I was listening to Joan Baez’ version of Portland Town, a song I’ve treasured since 1959, and decided to find out for the first time where the song came from. Which led me directly to Derroll’s web site.
I also grew up in Portland Town. My family had a strong interest in folk music, but were not performers, so I wasn’t around much live music until my college days. In 1958-59 I fell in with a group of Portland folk musicians, including Mike Russo, Ron Brentano, and Mel Lyman (who taught me Portland Town and started me on the 5-string banjo).
I left Portland in 1961, but I’ve sung and played the song for 54 years now, and I’m very happy to have found a new source of music so close to what was once my home.

Franz Schneider


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Richard writes
« on: February 3rd, 2013 »

I have enjoyed the music of Derroll Adams for many years. I have two of his record albums, Derroll Adams Live!, and Along the Way, and still enjoy listening to them. I have lamented not ever coming to Europe (I live in Los Angeles) to see him perform. I have previously been in touch with Dirk Lefevre who used to manage this web page.
All the best, sincerely,

Richard Possel


Erik writes
« on: January 12th, 2013 »

Je viens de regarder pour la premiere fois le très beau film sur Derroll fait par Patrick Ferryn et il m’a beaucoup ému. Comme beaucoup de gens j’ai été très touché par Derroll et sa musique, c’est un héritage qu’on porte avec soi avec une grande gratitude. Je ne suis pas musicien, je n’appartiens à aucun cercle, j’ai seulement organisé une fois un concert à Courtrai pour les étudiants je crois en 1978 et j’ai fait un petit article dans une revue. Aussi à travers Hugo Valcke qui est le manager de Willem Vermandere.
Je suis très heureux que vous mainteniez le site de Derroll, c’est très important que son héritage ne soit pas perdu.
J’ai pu mettre les enregistrements sur vinyl sur CD mais je m’imagine que vous les avez également et depuis longtemps. Si jamais cela peut vous être utile je peux vous les faire parvenir la prochaine fois que je serai en Belgique (je travaille à Kinshasa).
Seulement, ce que je n’ai pas est l’enregistrement du disque “Portland town” (de 1968 ?). Puis je vous demander si on peut le trouver quelque part sur CD svp ? Hugo en a un exemplaire mais je n’ai jamais réussi à le mettre sur CD. Ce serait formidable bien sûr...
Les chansons de Derroll restent avec nous, gravés dans nos coeurs, avec leur leçon éternelle d’amour et de sensibilité.
Merci beaucoup ! !


Erik Kennes


Joerg writes
« on: September 24th, 2012 »

Dear Danny,
It must be weird to get E-Mails from people you have never heard of and whom you’ll never meet. Yet, some events and some people go so deep that they cause repercussions for years and decades to come.
I never actually saw Derroll perform. I only listened to his music – countless times, and I mean it, countless! A friend of mine had these two long-playing records (well, not long enough for me) Feelin Fine and Movin On. I was in my early twenties (we’re talking 1983 now), studying in a place called Tuebingen (near Stuttgart in the South of Germany) and was sort of seeking my place in life. Never before and never after was there a singer/songwriter whose music struck me like Derroll’s banjo picking and singing. His music went right to the bottom of my soul. For months I could not get his tunes out of my mind even when occasionally I tried. This mixture of humor, longing, pain, joy, and wisdom was a revelation. Unfortunately I can’t sing (the best I can manage is a rumble) but believe me I listened to and sang along with about every Derroll song I could get hold of. Luckily nobody ever listened to me…
Eventually – after a few years – life moved on and things weren’t working out as expected. For a while I struggled to reinvent myself and find me a new profession, new place, new everything. It was after a few more years that I read about Patrick Ferryn and his film Banjoman. And it all came back in an instant. I paid a ridiculous amount of money (actually more bank fees than anything else) to get a copy of the DVD version from Belgium. Next thing I bought was the tribute CD. It was as if the years had never passed. It was all there, I was listening to Derroll’s songs and the tribute songs his wonderful friends had written for him. Being 52 now, I feel a bit like “one of the last outposts” of traditional folk music enthusiasm at least so it seems. I guess Derroll’s music will be with me for the rest of my life though I do not know a single person among my friends who would be willing to make the same statement. You know what? I don’t care.
Just wanted to let you know – occasionally we need to bridge this gap between us human isles.
All the best and may life treat you gently! God knows you deserve it
May peace prevail on earth,

Joerg Christoffel


Michael writes
« on: March 11th, 2012 »

Just stumbled on your marvellous site with all things Derroll. First met Derroll in 68 in the cafe Welcome. He was so kind and helpful to this young English flatpicker meeting his first and only hero... and you know... he never let me down.
Now I’ve found all things about Derroll I will be back and back again,
Very Best

Mick Moffett


Charles writes
« on: February 17th, 2012 »

Hi Danny,
Congratulations on the website. It was pleasure meeting you when you visited Glasgow in the mid-nineties with Derroll. I met Derroll for the first time at Tønder in Denmark in the early eighties but reckoned I knew before I met him because of the stories told by my old buddy Alex Campbell (half the lies Alex told were true). More recently when in LA myself I’d had lunch in the Book Soup Bistro on Sunset with Billy Connolly and I decided to go up through Topanga Canyon to Will Geer’s place where the bleachers are still there where Will, Cisco Houston, Derroll (Burl Ives was even mentioned) had their Hootenannies.
Billy’s little bit of homage to Derroll was to copy his banjo tattoo on the edge of his hand; since I have got older I’ve tried the slow speaking real cool dude who wanders onto the big stage with a noisy crowd and knocks ‘em dead – still working on it!
Warmest Regards and Best Wishes,

Charlie Harrigan


Sue writes
« on: February 14th, 2012 »

Dear Danny
I have just visited Derroll’s website and I am blown away. What a lot of work has gone into creating a beautiful and impressive site - there is so much information and so much I didn’t know about Derroll’s life. Well done you. And all the photographs too.
Much love, as aye,

Sue Duff


Michel writes
« on: February 7th, 2012 »

Bonjour Danny,
Superbe ce site qui s’installe sur Derroll. 12 ans déjà ! mais ce site nous le rend comme il est et demeurera toujours : humain, poète, musicien, chaleureux, sincère et bon vivant.
Gros bisous à toi,

Monique et Michel


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Henri writes
« on: February 7th, 2012 »

I will always remember Derroll as a Friend of Many Friends! I will also remember his concerts at Jeugd- en Cultuurcentreum Tsleutelgat in Haren-Brussels. At one of these concerts, in 1975, Geert Currinckx took a few beautiful photos of Derroll: one of these has been used on the cover of an elpee.
I will, of course, also remember his presence at Brosella Folk & Jazz! He was there from the start of the festival: at the first edition, in 1977, he was on the stage in the Groentheater/Théâtre de Verdure, the same day as Wannes Van de Velde, Les Coulonneux, De Snaar - next day we had Didier (the brother of another important Friend, Antoine Courtmans), Dirk Van Esbroeck & Juan Masondo, Pierre Bensusan (first gig in Belgium), John Renbourn & Jacqui McShee, 5-Hand Reel (with Dick Gaughan).
In 1994 he was part of the Brosella Project E.W.B., with other great musicians: Jan Hautekiet, Patrick Riguelle, Roland (Van Campenhout), Bart De Nolf, Cesar Janssens, Wigbert Van Lierde, B.J. Scott, Jan De Smet, Pieterjan Smet, Philippe de Chaffoy de Courcelles.
In 2001, one year after he left us for ever, Brosella created The Derroll Adams’ Tribute Big Band, not with big names from all over the world, but with “Belgian” Friends: Jan Hautekiet, Patrick Riguelle, Cesar Janssens, Jef Van Gool, Didier Courtmans, B.J.Scott, Guy Stroobant, Gérard De Smaele, Tucker Zimmerman.
In 2010, Wiet Van de Leest proposed to Brosella, Gentse Feesten and Dranouter to present the project “Derroll’s Dream”. It was announced like this:
Derroll Adams, an American singer-songwriter and folk artist, spent half of his life in Belgium, neatly divided between Brussels and Antwerp. He was a beautiful man and a friend of the Vrienden Van Brosella - Amis de Brosella (Friends of Brosella), but also very good mates with quite a few musicians. One of them, Wiet Van de Leest, told us that Derroll dreamed about performing one day with plenty of violins and female vocals. Usually, he was on stage on his own, with just the five-string banjo and his deep velvet voice. Wiet took the challenge to fulfil Derroll’s dream. Brosella created in 2001 (with huge success) a project “The Derroll Adams Tribute Big Band” to honour this legendary folk hero. And now three festivals are joining forces to make Derroll’s dream come true and to honour the tenth anniversary of his passing.
Patrick Ferryn made in 2005 a documentary of 85 minutes about the artist, called “I Was Born In Portland Town”. Copies of this documentary will be for sale during the festival.
But, most of all, I will remember the warm meetings we had - too few of them! - at his home in Antwerp!!
Love You, Derroll!!!

Henri Vandenberghe
General Manager VZW “De Vrienden Van Brosella” / “Les Amis De Brosella” ASBL


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Jean-Pierre writes
« on: February 5th, 2012 »

Hi, it’s great to see this new website in progress. I know there is still a lot of work to do, and with the help of all our friends worldwide this site will grow and grow.

“JP” Van Weyenbergh


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Claude writes
« on: February 3rd, 2012 »

Agé de 61 ans, je suis fan de Derroll depuis que je l’ai découvert par hasard en première d’un gig de “Jofroi & les Coulonneux” dans une église, à Loverval (Belgique) en 1972 ou 1973. J’ignorais tout du banjo à l’époque et j’en suis tombé amoureux, j’ai acheté un Framus et je m’y suis mis, avec le livre rouge de Pete Seeger, comme des milliers d’autres… Autant d’années après, j’éprouve toujours le même plaisir à en jouer… et à écouter tout ce que je peux de Derroll. Amicalement,

Claude Van Walleghem


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Sammy writes
« on: February 3rd, 2012 »

I really didn’t know Derroll very well, only meeting him during my tour of France and Belgium in 1978. I did know his music though as I was a big fan of him from having several of his old albums when I was young, some with Jack Elliot and some solo ones. It was a thrill for me to meet him for the first time in Paris when we were doing the Hommage to Woody Guthrie concerts. Later when I was doing my tour in Belgium, Derroll invited me to his home, I think in Antwerp, but it’s been so long ago, I’m not sure if that’s right. Jacques Vassal was driving me around to all my concerts during that time. Anyway, we visited Derroll and he and his wife were very kind and gracious. Later Derroll came to my concert and brought a friend with him. It was either in Antwerp or the concert I did in Bruxells. Derroll was a great musician and I loved that deep baritone voice that he had. I will always cherish the short time that I was able to spend with him in 1978. He was one of the great ones!

Sammy Walker


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Eric writes
« on: February 3rd, 2012 »

Ma chère Danny,
Quel beau moyen que ce site pour m’exprimer et dire à Derroll qu’il est avec moi tous les jours, ce grand frère si sensible et talentueux, avec ses mélodies qui me font regarder loin devant, dans le vague...
Des mélodies toutes plus belles les unes que les autres, et une voix qui m’embrument les yeux et qui me donnent à chaque écoute la chair de poule ! ! !
Des moments savoureux que je consomme chaque jour de ma vie et que je fais partager à mes enfants qui commencent à ne plus pouvoir s’en passer, aussi ! ! ! Comment ne pas être sensible à ces merveilles ?
Des heures à t’écouter, Derroll, et essayer de jouer cette musique avec mon banjo, cette musique qui paraît si simple, juste pour me rapprocher encore plus près de toi. Mais elle est dure ta technique ! ! !
Parfois je m’en approche, alors c’est bon !

Love !

Eric Dumont


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Robert writes
« on: January 29th, 2012 »

One of the major influences in the European Acoustic music scene in the mid fifties was “Rambling” Jack Elliott and his banjo playing buddy Derroll Adams. Jack and his wife June arrived in London during the Autumn of 1955 when Britain was caught up in the “Skiffle” boom. British groups were riding high in the charts with renditions of American folk songs and blues. Jack Elliott with his cowboy hat and his Levi jeans soon attracted a large following with his syncopated guitar playing and his high pitched vocals. Singing in the pubs and clubs and occasional broadcasts on the B.B.C. he signed a recording contract with Topic Records.
After a couple of years he felt lonely as if there was something missing and he sent for his buddy from Portland, Oregon Derroll Adams. They had met years earlier in Topanga Canyon at Will Geer’s herb farm where they played as a duo for the first time singing the “Muleskinner Blues” and their voices and instruments were the ideal mix.
Derroll arrived in February 1957 in England and teamed up with Jack Elliott calling themselves “The Rambling Boys”. The English audiences loved them and felt their playing and singing was authentic.
They recorded a 10" album for Topic Records (10T14) called “The Rambling Boys” which was issued in 1958.
Jack and Derroll sang some songs solo and the remainder as a duo. Although their spell as a duo did not last long they were a major influence on the music scene with a long list of artists admitting that after hearing their recordings they decided to learn the guitar or the banjo!

Robert Wylie (a fan for 52 years)


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Here's the new site
« on: January 28th, 2012 »

I am very happy to share this website with you all and would like to thank you for your kind visit.

Danny Adams