DEKE DICKERSON (By Tony Wilkinson)

Born Derek Dickerson, 3 June 1968, Creve Coeur, St Louis , Missouri

Described by Ken Burke as the ultimate roots revival artist, Deke Dickerson is one of the best multi-faceted newish performers on the current rockin' scene. Anybody who lists Jerry Lee Lewis as his favourite singer has to be worthy of our attention and admiration. When his name started to become well known in Europe under a partnership with Dave Stuckey in the Dave & Deke Combo, it was rumoured that he was the son of Honky Tonk Hillbilly singer Dub Dickerson but I believe this to be a publicity spin from the time. Deke was born Derek Dickerson in St. Louis, then grew up in Blacksburg, Virginia flowed by a spell in Columbia, Missouri. The Deke part of his name came from the character played by Elvis in the movie 'Loving You'. It was during this period in the Midwest that circa 1983 that he formed his first band Untamed Youth, an outfit that played in the sixties surf 'n' garage mould and recorded for Norton Records.

Around 1990, Dickerson met the aforementioned Dave Stuckey, another mid-westerner, whilst on tour in California with Untamed Youth. The last mentioned band broke up in 1993, after a spell of trying to establish the outfit on the west coast. Deke then linked up with Stuckey and formed the Dave & Deke Combo who had two CD album releases and toured extensively, including several trips to Europe and appearances at Hemsby where they backed up Lorrie and Larry Collins on one occasion. The combo lasted until 1996 when the guys split after a farewell performance at Jack's Sugar Shack in Los Angeles (a good club to visit if you are out that way). However, it was with Stuckey that Deke began to develop his unique guitar playing skills that, today, have him in the forefront of rockin' pickers. Going on at the same time as the Dave & Deke Combo was a side project under the name of The Go Nuts, a band formed with Mel Bergmann from the Phantom Surfers and which was dedicated to superhero c haracters and sang songs about snack food (two albums have resulted so far). In 1994, he launched his own Ecco-Fonic record label, a name built around the twin-necked Mosrite guitar, the first of which he had picked up in a pawn shop in 1992.

After about a year with the likes of Big Sandy, Deke launched his band The Ecco-fonics,. His first solo album 'Number One Hit Record', the first of three, for Hightone Records (along with the CD 'Hot Guitars Of Biller & Wakefield') was released in 1998 and received much critical acclaim. However, he later formed his own Major label that resulted in the release of a project dear to his heart under the title of 'In 3-Dimensions'. This is a three-music part release covering rock 'n' roll, rockabilly and hillbilly. On the first mentioned, the drummer for the sessions was none other than the legendary Earl Palmer. The opening track of 'In 3-Dimensions', 'I Might Not Come Home At All' was described by Trevor Cajiao as 'a modern day classic' and as sounding 'so authentic it hurts' in his NDT review (March 2003).

One thing about Deke is that when he is asked to back artists such as Dale Hawkins or The Collins Kids, he takes the trouble to learn the guitar riffs of the particular performer's songs. The end result is that the emerging sound is spot on, albeit that he often adds his own embellishments. I witnessed this at Green Bay in 2002 when he spurred on both of the aforementioned acts to turn in blinding sets.

Recommended Listening:

The Dave & Deke Combo: 'Hollywood Barn Dance'

'Moonshine Melodies'

Deke Dickerson: 'Number One Hit Record'

'More Million $eller$'

'Rhythm Rhyme and Truth'

'In 3-Dimensions'

Various Artists: 'This Is Ecco-Fonic!'

'The Hot Guitars Of Biller & Wakefield'

Suggested Reading:

The lengthy interview between Deke Dickerson and Ken Burke which appeared in the Spring 2003 (issue # 62) of the American magazine 'Blue Suede News'

Official website:

Other websites:

These pages were originally published as "This Is My Story" in the
Yahoo Group "Shakin' All Over". For comments or information
please contact Dik de Heer at

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