All CHIN'S CALYPSO / MENTO RECORDINGS were produced by
Chin's Radio Service of 48 Church St.Kingston Jamaica in
the 50s. Producer Ivan S Chin
All Rights Reserved Unauthorized Copying Prohibited.
Dear Mr Chin,
Yes I loved them, they are classics and I need more!! They take me back to the deep history of Jamaican music - you are a maverick and pioneer in Jamaican cultural music.
I have actually met you once before in Toronto at the electronic shop and I would love to meet you again in the future.
God bless you richly and keep up the good work.
While browsing the Internet on Amazon.com looking for mento and Merengue music to compliment my collection, I came across Boogu Yagga Gal and got routed to http://www.Mento Music.com.
An excellent site and saw your Priceless collection and a lot of other related stuff. THEN IT DAWNED ON ME, this is exactly what I am looking for and could not believe my luck.
It was an excellent idea putting these songs together before they are lost forever or scattered in private collections. We have to enjoy them for what they are, than not to have had them at all.
I hope the younger generation will listen and understand where it all came from. You have extended the listening experience/History of this music for many more years to come.
From Ivan Chin
This is the HISTORY of the 78 records from the 30s, 40s, and 50s, to the present CDs. in 2009.
Many years ago, there was a thing called a Gramophone, which was invented along with the 78 record to play music.
The unit was placed in a box or in a console, with a handle at the side of the box,which was used to wind a spring,to spin the turntable.
It had a round metal head in which you would put in a steel needle, a screw was used to tighten the needle, after that was done, the turntable was started by releasing the brake, then the head with the needle was placed on the record.
There was a large horn attached to the unit, which would receive the vibrations from the needle running along the grooves of the 78 speed record, those vibrations produced the sound of the music.
There was a very popular brand which left a very lasting impression, it was called (HIS MASTER'S VOICE,) (HMV).It had a very interesting logo of a little dog sitting in front of the gramophone horn, as if listening to the music.
In the late 40s, the electric turntable was invented to spin the 78 records, also a crystal pickup cartridge to replace the heavy round metal head of the gramophone, there was also an electric amplifier invented along with a thing they called a loud speaker, at the time, to replace the horn.
From then on, recorded music was played from an electric amplifier, with a loud speaker, a crystal cartridge and an electric turntable.The sound was much better and the unit much easier to operate.
The quality of the cartridges were also improved, there were ceramic and magnetic stereo cartridges developed later.
Then a new type of record was invented called an extended play 45 rpm record, which was much smaller and lighter than the old heavy 78 records, it had two recordings on each side, shortly after, the 33 rpm long playing (LP) record was invented, the extended play 45 was then changed to a single recording on each side, then called 45 record.
The record player was then made to play at three speeds, 78,45 and 33, then a fourth speed was added, a 16 rpm for languages and speeches, the player then had four speeds. It was then made into a record changing machine called a record changer.
The long playing LP record was then made to play a new system called High Fidelity, (Hi Fi), which increased the high frequeny ranges of the sound, with that new system, the sound was much better.
The LP was also made to play another new system called Stereophonic Sound, or (Stereo), this system consisted of two separate channels, a right and a left channel.
A new cartridge with two channels was also developed to play the new stereo system, two separate amplifiers with two separate loud speakers was also developed, the purpose of this system was to hear the right and the left section of a band or each microphones separate from the other.
The stereo system consisted of two amplifiers put together as one unit and called a stereo amplifier.
When the stereo system was developed, there were demonstrations of the system to introduce it to the public.
This was how it went! the public was placed in the front center of two large loud speakers, connected to the stereo amplifier, with a stereo cartridge, a Stereo LP record and an electric turntable.
When they started the record, the first thing you heard was a train coming towards you from the left through the left speaker, first soft as if far away, then louder as it seems to get closer, as it gets closer the right speaker would gradually pickup the sound then gets louder when it seems to be in front, then both speakers had the same volume.
When the train appeared to be passing to the right, the left speaker started to fade softer and softer until there was no sound on the left, while the right speaker alone had the sound which started to fade softer and softer as if the train was going out of range, then there was no sound.
It was a very exciting time entering the stereo age, there was also a matrix system developed to work along with the stereo system to make it sound much better, there was also a new system called a loudness control in the form of a switch.
It worked on the volume control to increase the bass and treble when you are playing at a low volume, at a low volume without that control, you would loose most of your lows and highs, to compensate for the losses without that control, you would have to increase the volume to a point where it might be too loud and uncomfortable.
After all that development, came a new one, this was the reel to reel tape recorder, for the first time one could record a song from your 78 or LP records, also from the radio, or microphones in a band, or stage functions.
The Reel to Reel brands that were very good, were the Ampex, Akai, and Teac, the quality sound from those tape recorders were excellent, they were of very high quality.
The sound produced by those Reel to Reel tape recorders were better than most modern stereo systems today.
When played through a British Williamson linear Amplifier,
coupled with KT 66 Vacuum Tubes, and with British Wharfdale
speakers, they produced the best sound for that period and is even better than most transistor amplifiers today.
Williamson developed a Power Output Transformer that was Ultra Linear and completely shielded.
The wharfdale speakers were made with aluminum voice coils, which produced very fine clean high frequencies, you could almost do without tweeters when using 12inch wharfdale speakers.
Then came the 8 Track tape recorder player, for the first time you could tape your favourite songs and play them in your car, on your boat, or at home. Cars were then equipped for the first time with 8 track players to play music while you drive.
Then came the cassette recorder player, it was the most convenient of the tape recorder players, they were used as portable record players, for use any where, at home, in your car, on your boat, or on the beach. Some were of very high quality.
They could auto reverse, double auto reverse, and auto play 8 times before auto shutoff. The big problem with all those tape recorders were to find a special song. To do that you would have to fast forward and or reverse a few times before you could locate the song you want.
Then came the present CD player, at first they gave some trouble skipping on tracks or broke down with bad heads or bad motors, they corrected the problems and now they are here to stay. To locate a special song on your cd, all you have to do is click a key or two.
After the CD players came out, they made one to record and called it a burner, it could only work with your computer,
but it is good, you can make good copies of CDs and with mp3s you can put almost 200 songs on one CD.
I have not yet seen a CD burner that you can use without your computer, may be, they are around somewhere, or may soon come on the market.
WELL THAT'S IT, FROM THE OLD 78 RECORDS TO OUR PRESENT CDs.
I hope younger folks will get an idea where we are coming from.
Please print all the information on the Mento Music.com/ chin's site, of the history of Chin's Calypsos, and keep along with the Cds, even some of the old 78 labels of 50 years ago are displayed on that site at the bottom.
Ivan S Chin
Born on February 21, 1928 in the parish of Clarendon, Bedasse driven by his love of music migrated to Kingston at age 21 and started to play the guitar.
It was at this point he met Everald Williams, who had just returned from Cuba. Over time, the two were to become the new version of Slim and Sam, the folk/mento duo (from the 1920s to early 1940s) famous for their performances at street corners and at the Coronation Market. On these occasions, Slim and Sam would also sell "tracks" (music-sheets) with the words of the tunes they performed.
"Somebody recommended "Willie" (Everald Williams) to me and we eventually met. This was during the period of Lord Kitchner who had a great influence on me," Bedasse said.
"Williams was a brilliant man, who sometimes would look at a situation and make up a song extemporaneously. He was good at that. He was a teacher also and was good at the English language. He composed the songs them, I played the guitar and he and I would sing and we performed as a duo," recalls Bedasse.
Because of the risqué nature of Night Food, it was a challenge for them to record as prospective producers wouldn"t touch it with a long stick.
"He (Willie) composed a song and it was the first commercial song we recorded and that was Night Food in 1952. But initially, nobody would produce the record. None of the recording places, and I can name a few. In those days you had Stanley Motto, Ivan Chin from Chin Radio, you had Wonards, and one or two more. Williams went to them and they say it was too suggestive."
Eventually, however, Bedasse and his partner managed to get Night Food recorded. "We eventually got it recorded when a guy name Standford bought it.
Stanford was at Church Street and Beeston Street corner. He said he was going to take a chance and buy it and that was the greatest chance any human being ever took. Believe me when the song was recorded at Stanley Motto's studio we couldn't believe. It gained momentum and sold like wildfire. Every dance you go, Night Food would play 10 times. All the people who refused to produce it were so saddened.
"Mr Chin, who at first was not interested in the song called and gave us a contract to make two songs per month. That was a big break for us. In fact, we left the streets after that. Ken Khouri distributed Night Food and we got about £18 for both of us," reminisced the 77-year-old mento pioneer, who used to perform at the corner of Oxford Street and Spanish Town Road in the vicinity of Myers' Drug Store.
"This area was conducive for that kind of thing; a lot of people frequented that area because of the Coronation Market. We used to feed ourselves, buy clothes and give our girlfriends 'a money', as we would go home with £3 or £4," explained Bedasse.
The next big songs for the duo of Bedasse and Williams, which with additional members in time evolved into Alerth Bedasse and the Chin's Calypso Sextet, were Night Food Recipe, Kendal Crash (inspired by the train accident by that name) and some children songs including There's A Brown Girl In The Ring.
With his partner migrating, Bedasse stopped recording around 1959. He became an accountant in 1962 and started working with the National Workers Union (NWU).
By Daniel Neely
THE END OF AN ERA
The passing of Alerth Rockford Bedasse on March 5, 2007 marked the end of a chapter in Jamaica's great musical heritage. Alerth fell ill at his home in Harbour View, East Kingston, while preparing a meal in his kitchen and was taken to the Kingston Public Hospital where he eventually died.
Those who came out of the 1950s will remember the golden years of the foundation music known as the Mento/Calypso, the island's first recorded indigenous music form. Alerth Bedasse, in tandem with the prolific writer, the late Everard Williams and backed by the Chin's Calypso Sextet recorded some of the most popular songs of the time. In fact, there is presently a resurgence of the Mento/Calypso as a new generation is getting to appreciate the music, due mainly to the reissuing of the Ivan Chin owned Chin's Calypso Sextet Catalogue. Classics numbers such as `Big Boy & Teacher`, `Guzoo Doctor`, `Red Tomato`,`Monkey's Opinion`, and the highly controversial `Night Food` are now a regular part of play sheets on radio stations in Jamaica and abroad.
Alerth was born in May Kraal, Clarendon on February 21, 1928 and started playing the guitar at events such as weddings and parties while in his mid teen. In 1949 he moved to Kingston and settled in the culturally rich section of the city known as the West End, and it was not long before he was introduced to Everard Williams who needed a partner. The two teamed and in the process succeeded the famous street singing pair known as Slim & Sam. They traversed the entire island singing and selling music tracts until they went into the recording studio to record `Night Food`, reputed to be one of the biggest ever selling record in Jamaica. By 1958 the music changed and Bedasse went into business administration, working as an accountant at the National Workers Union (NWU) until the time of his death.
The Webster Memorial United Church overflowed with mourners paying their last respect to the great man on Saturday, March 17. Interestingly, the majority of the mourners were from the NWU and its affiliates while the music fraternity had few from that sector. Noticeable from the music fraternity were Kingsley Goodison (King Omar Promotions), Colin Leslie, Roy Black, Herbie Miller and Daniel Neely who travelled from New York. Internment took place at his family plot at Mount Hindmost, Pennants in Clarendon.
Thanks to Alerth there are taped and printed interviews to be made available. The DVD series, `The Mento Pioneer`, and a cover feature in the `Vintage Boss Magazine`, along with additional features the `Vintage Boss` special series, The Mento Pioneers Pt. 1&2
Rest Well Alerth.
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