The 813 club and the Derrick Morgan remarkable story
Event that happened in early 1970 during the week of the New Year.
After many years of operating the 813 Club, which was considered to be the number one Caribbean and Latin American club in North America, and where many artists had visited the club and/or performed successfully (for example Rosco and The Rebelions, Pluckey and Beril, Derrick Morgan, The Flames, and other numerous artists from Jamaica, the Barbados, and Trinnidad), the club closed its doors.
The 813 Club opened in November of 1970, and for 12 years it was the centre of entertainment for many people. Not only the 813 was a non-profit organization, but it was also a great gift, every Christmas, to hundreds of children who would gather at its annual Christmas parties.
The first article written by Pat McNeilly about the Christmas and Easter parties, as well as school graduation parties (all free of charge) at the 813 club.
Click here to view film footage from the Past and Present 1991 interview with Kenn Shah.
Over the years, many articles were written about the 813 club, always congratulating Mr. Spyros Peter Goudas for his efforts and praising his contribution to the community.
We have only provided a small sample of this publicity.
Before we close the subject of the 813 Club, it is important to insert an event that happened during the week of the New Year.
An arrangement was made by Spyros Peter Goudas, nicknamed Mr. Whoo at the club, and his manager Willie Williams (Big Willie) to have Pluckie and Beryl perform for this particular night of the New Year’s week.
Pluckie was responsible to engage the reggae/ska artist, Mr. Derrick Morgan from Jamaica to perform as well.
An arrangement for an agreed sum of money took place.
This included Airline Tickets, Meals and Hotel Accommodations.
These arrangements were made a few months before the actual night.
Mr. Spyros Peter Goudas promoted the event to the best of his ability within his store, the Radio Station and within the club.
The event was very well promoted and tickets were sold out well in advance of the performance.
The big night finally arrived.
The club was filled to double its capacity.
There was no room for even a needle to drop.
Everyone was dressed up for the occasion.
The smoking of that special Jamaican tobacco was prohibited.
The performance of the Pluckie and Beryl dancing routine was scheduled to begin at 10:00 p.m. for a period of half-an-hour.
For the next half-an-hour, the house band took over the lead.
For the following half-an-hour, Mr. Whoo, the house DJ, was scheduled to entertain with his special crowd-pleasing style.
Now was the time for Willie Williams to announce the appearance of Derrick Morgan and allow the house band to play the introduction for Derrick to appear on stage.
In the next few seconds, Mr. Morgan did not appear on stage.
Willie Williams waited for a few seconds and re-introduced Mr. Morgan.
Again, Derrick Morgan did not appear.
Finally, Spyros Peter Goudas, Mr. Whoo, took the initiative to go to the changing and dressing room.
The following conversation took place.
"Mr. Morgan why are you not coming out? The people are waiting for you."
Mr. Morgan responded, "Maybe you should ask Pluckie?"
Mr. Goudas then turned to Pluckie. "Pluckie what is going on?"
Pluckie responded, "we need more money!"
Mr. Goudas added, "Pluckie we made our arrangements and I fulfilled my obligations and have already paid you in advance. What do you want now?"
Pluckie demanded double payment or Derrick Morgan would be a no show.
Mr. Goudas then addressed Derrick Morgan stating:
"Mr. Morgan I paid Pluckie everything that was already prearranged and the club does not have any more money.
The crowd has come to see you and many have come from far away and have been waiting for hours outside with their tickets in hand to see you perform.
I know that you are blind and may not be aware that I am the only white person within a crowd of more than one thousand people who are black.
Furthermore, the situation is not pleasant and Pluckie is absolutely wrong.
If you do not come out to this crowd, then you are wrong too.
We do not have enough time to sit down and argue all night long.
I am going to leave this room now and go up unto the stage and I will reveal to the crowd the real situation and will make an announcement for the last time.
If you feel within your conscience that Pluckie is right then you do not have to come out.
I know that you are blind but I want you to see the situation with your heart and see clearly that all these people are here to see you perform."
Mr. Goudas left the room, went onto the stage, and through the microphone announced the situation to the disappointment of the crowd.
He further informed them that to make life a little easier that the bar would be open free of charge for the rest of the night and at the end of the night he would refund them their ticket money.
In the next few seconds, Willie signaled Peter to come to the side of the stage where they had a conversation for a few seconds.
Mr. Goudas went back to the microphone and told the crowd that Mr. Morgan had a change of heart stating that he did not come all the way from Jamaica to be a victim of Pluckie’s ignorance and threats.
Mr. Morgan stressed that he came to Toronto to sing and make thousands of people happy.
Therefore, Mr. Spyros Peter Goudas instructed the band to play the intro and he ran to the change room to personally escort Mr. Derrick Morgan on stage.
Mr. Morgan proceeded to sing into the wee hours of the morning non-stop.
He sang anything from Mule Train to the Donkey Train and all the trains between.
What a talented entertainer he was (and still is).
The great talent of this man was greatly appreciated by all in attendance.
Photo of Derrick Morgan on stage
Willie Williams escorted Pluckie and Beryl out of the Club and Spyros Peter Goudas took care of Mr. Derrick Morgan personally until his departure.
It was one of the greatest nights at Club 813.
Spyros Peter Goudas, aka Mr. Whoo, was a very happy man as a result of the way the event turned around.
Needless to say, it was one of the most stressful moments in his life.
If someone analyzed the situation of Mr. Goudas' mentality at that specific time and era, you could only imagine the amount of stress he had, when he had to inform all these people patiently waiting to see Mr. Derrick Morgan, that they would not be able to do so.
Mr. Goudas was not afraid for his life, although he was the only white man within 1000 black people.
He did not fear, because, he knew the crowd, and equally the crowd knew him, but was so distraught at the fact, that so many people looked forward to that event.
They had come from far away and waited so long, only to be disappointed.
Nevertheless, at the end, as stated above, all the people were entertained, and spent one of the most beautiful evenings with the Great Derrick Morgan.
To this day, Mr. Goudas has never spoken a word to Pluckie or Beril since.