top of page

Congrats Mr Musicology Dez Parkes

We don't all know everything , even though some pro-port to do so , but there are some who know a lot about a little or a little about a lot. Which ever way you cut the cake up one of those educated musical scholars without question is East London's finest Dez Parkes. Dez's(the leader of the pack first in linear the front of this photo line up) reputation as a dancer,dj, record label owner, record dealer, compiler and as a designating spokesman and voice of authority, that far precedes him, to many who have never met him. From the late 1960's and very early 1970's as a very young teenager Dez was crafting his 'free flowing expression'  ethos of dancing and on occasion djing, in some of the Soho west end establishments. The Wag and Upstairs at Ronnie Scotts would see Dez and his crew cutting up rugs or kicking up dust on many a dance floor, not just in London but up and down the UK. Many of the UK's Brit jazz funk & soul talent from the late 1970's Phil Fearon, Central Line, Light Of The World, Incognito, to mid to late 80's outfits Diana Brown & The Brothers, The Brand New Heavies and his own dance troupe Unknown Kwantity, have either counselled, or have in some shape of form had dealings with Dez Parkes along the way. Dez and his then east London neighbour and partner in rhyme Trevor Shakes were resident at the holy grail early 1980's Sunday nights at Spat Oxford  Street W.1. Many of today's major player DJ's and industry motels, actors , dancers,and media individuals (including The Pasadena's, actor Leon Herbert, DJ's Fabio and Bobby & Steve would get educated, as wells get down on to the dance floor to the baddest upfront and old school jams. As a record dealer known knights of the Cameo 'Sound Table' have purchased records from Dez including Norman Jay, Gilles Peterson, Bobby & Steve and Barrie K Sharpe.  30 years ago Dez and his TUF organisation packaged the prototype collectors (regardless of their anal tendencies or not) thirst for previously not so available music, with the 'Rare' series on RCA. Less than an Eddie Murphy 48 hours ago there was a thread on Facebook with someone hailing off his own fruition, the magnificence of the 'Rare' series compiled by Dez. These albums not only launched an entourage of similar comp albums, but it also gave many of today's old school hip hop and rap artists inspiration, in using samples from the 'Dezucation' in the 'Rare' repertoire. Dez was headhunted by Ian Dewhirst to do the Rare comp on Mastercuts in 1993, an album that I physically travelled by over ground and underground trains from Essex to Shepperton Surrey, to get from Ian, I was that desperate to have it before it hit the streets. Dez has also complied a few albums on Prelude and of the Ace catalogue, such is his prolific history , knowledge and wealth of music, from his very vast and often envied record collection. Both BBC radio and TV have counselled Dez for radio shows and their 'Soul Britannia' series. Author Lloyd Bradley included Dez and this front cover image in his highly acclaimed book 'Sounds Like London' (100 years Of Black Music In The Capital). I've known Dez in some shape or form since 1982-83 and have often integraraly documented him in The Soul Survivors Magazine, from quotations via individuals including Kenny Wellington (Beggar & Co), Leee John (Imagination), to even two pending interviews in forthcoming issues featuring Barrie K Sharpe and Eddie Pillar. Dez can call Bill Curtis (Fatback Band),James Mason(Sweet Power), Leroy Burgess and Roy Ayers his personal friends who seek him out when the come to the UK because of his support for their art and craft over the past 40 years.  Private parties for Prince as far back as 1980 , Chaka Khan and terrorising The Miami Music Conference with his co pilot Barry King DJing in the USA are a few the trail blazing legacies of Dez Parkes. Its' appropriate marking 30 years of his innovate Rare comps and his over 40 years in the industry that he is honoured with his lifetime achievement representing the real 'Boogie Down' like his fave falsetto vocalist Eddie Kendricks.


bottom of page