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
This is a small history that you might find interesting.
When I was in my early teens, I heard that people could talk hundreds or thousands of miles away in another country and you could hear them in Jamaica, you could also hear music the same way.
I got fascinated with the idea and decided to learn more about it, at that time I did not know anything about Alexander BELL or MARCONI, I heard that the thing that could do all that was called a RADIO.
One day I saw an ad in a news paper which read, LEARN RADIO BY CORRESPONDENCE COURSE. The school was HOLLYWOOD RADIO AND TELEVISION INSTITUTE of California.
I sent for the course, I paid five shillings weekly or one Pound each month from my allowance, of five shillings weekly. The first radios I saw were an ATWATERKENT and a Philco.
Their shapes were like Churches of those days,with a round top, the radios had a very small opening in front and a round knob to turn some numbers in a window called a dial.
I learnt from the course that a radio needed a long antenna before it could receive a signal to operate. it also needed two poles, with one glass insulator on each pole from which the long wire antenna was strung.
In those early days, the only band on the radio was the long wave band, then later the medium band, the only thing we could hear at that time was Spanish language and
Spanish music from CUBA.I was living in Lucea at that time working in our bakery, where I received my drivers license at 16, then later worked in Santa Cruz and Green Island.
A few years later we started to hear English language and music from Miami, one of the early stations I remembered was one called WINZ, in Miami, radio improved over the years, with other Short Wave bands. During that period I learnt to repair radios.
At that time I was living in Montego Bay working in a new bakery we started.
I started a radio repair shop in Montego Bay in 1942, that was during the war years WW2, there were no radio or TV stations in Jamaica at that time, we listened to music and news on the short wave bands, the stations we received were the BBC, the Voice OF AMERICA, and the ARMED FORCES RADIO.
In those days there were very memorable songs played on the radio every day, songs like, South of the border, down argentina way, Mexically rose, Tennessee Waltz, Always, Together, To Each His Own, Rum and Coca cola,and many other good songs, like the White Cliffs Of Dover,and Via Con Dios.
I went to New York in October 1946, I never knew what cold was until I felt my first winter and saw my first snow, I never knew that people could live in a country so cold, I survived the winter and returned to Montego Bay in March
1947. That trip was my first plane ride, there were no jet planes at that period, I flew in a two engine propellar plane, it only had seats for about twenty people and it took almost the whole day to reach New York.
One of my most memorable experience in New York, was going to the Radio City Music Hall Theater, I had never seen a theater so beautiful, the sound was out of this world, the carpets were very thick, the drapes very heavy, and the seats very comfortable, which made the acoustics very outstanding.
In Jamaica in the 50s and 60s, we also had a very good theater called The CARIB THEATER, when you decided to go to the Carib, you had to dress very neat, because everyone else would be in their best, there were standards set at the Carib, no noise, no fooling around and no smoking.
The Theater was very elegantly decorated with thick carpets very heavy drapes and soft plush seats, the CARIB was the place to go on a pleasant Sunday afternoon.
The best part of going to the Carib was to be in your seat before the lights go out. When the show was about to start, they gradually turned the lights down, then at the same time gradually lighted the drapes in front of the screen, a pale blue and green colour.
Then at the same time they started the music, gradually increasing the volume to a comfortable level, the best part of all that, was the music, they played the most beautiful music you ever heard. LA GOLONDRINA AND MELODY OF LOVE.
The sound system was the best Stereo system in Jamaica,
you were wrapped around with this wonderful music, and the sound was always at a very comfortable level. It was always a joy to go to the Carib in those days.
08 May 2008
Dear Mr. Chin,
I apologize for not having replied yet to your earlier email. I simply couldn't think of the right words to say. While I have been a fan of Jamaican music since the 70's, I had never made it past ska and bluebeat and was only slightly aware of mento, though curious. Accordingly, it was only this year that I became familiar with all the great music you recorded in the 1950's. Through various web searches as I was looking for information on mento, I came across the long article on you, your company and the many musicians you recorded. When I read that discs were available directly from you via CD Baby, it seemed incredible. In an age when the recording industry, driven only by profit margins, pays so little heed or respect by keeping in print the riches hoarded in their vaults, it is refreshing to see a man who, out of pride for his work and its perhaps unintended place in history, would take the time to gather it and make discs himself to offer to the public.
Your discs are a labor of love, and I want you to know how much I appreciate the love that went into them. In the absence of your handmade discs, I might never have heard much of this music and might never have understood the roots of what came later. I have enjoyed my education very much, and the spirit, joy and playfulness that pervades the music you recorded is compelling.
Quite frankly, I'm a little speechless to have gotten your humble email. I mean, you are Ivan Chin, a pioneer of Jamaican music and to me a living legend. So it is I who thank you for the music you made many years ago and that you diligently compiled and offered once again to the public. It is a thrill and a pleasure to listen to your discs, and yes, thank you, I like them very much.
Sending you my very best wishes,
You May Order By Phone Toll Free 1-800-289-6923
from CD Baby.