Dez Parkes

Dez Parkes, compiler, collector, producer, DJ is one of the UKs most knowledgeable sources of music information.

Some people say he is a walking encyclopedia on music. For 30 + years Dez has monitored the changing face of entertainment as a dancer, deejay and label owner & compiler. Dez’s passion for music began as a young child growing up in a collectors environment: his father was a record collector covering all aspects of black music and Dez himself ventured into this intriguing world in his early teens. in the early 70s he started dancing in the underground clubs with groups and became something of a fixture at the infamous Crackers, Birds Nest and the Whisky A Go Go (today known as The Wag), to name but a few, where under the tag Unknown Kwantity his dance group.

Dez’s first DJ spot in the early 70s was to cover for the resident DJ Sonny (at the Whisky a go go). Then came a liaison with another vinyl spinner, Trevor Shakes, they eventually teamed up to kick off the 1st 80s Boogie underground club in the u.k, called Spats.Further stints at Browns and The Maze (a.k.a Upstairs at Ronnies (Scotts)) kept his reputation flying high. In 1987 Dez was approached by RCA to compile and launch the Rare series of albums, which were responsible for starting the rare groove revival. The first release went straight into the national album charts at no. 75 – (this was a real ground breaker for underground rare black music in this country).

Off the back of this series he then compiled Motown Rare Grooves and Prelude One, again for RCA. At the same time Dez was working on some of the London’s pirate radio stations including WBLS, Dance FM and Laser. During this very busy period Dez and several associates launched TUF (The Underground Family) Records and kicked off with a cover of Sweet Charles Yes Its You by Diana Brown & The Brothers which proved to be a major underground club hit: some of the group went on to become The Brand New Heavies. 

Dez’s next liaison was with Ace Records where he compiled The Best of Pleasure Vols I and II. Further compilations for Ace followed namely All Spice, Jazz Collective and The Best of Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers. Dez was later approached by Mastercuts and was asked to compile a couple of albums for them. What followed were Classic Rare Groove Vol.1 and Classic Rare Groove Vol.2. 

Dez continues to work in various areas of the music industry and continues to do so to this very day.