All Chin’s Calypso/ Mento Records were Produced
By Chin’s Radio Service at 48 Church Street
Kingston Jamaica in the 50s.
Producer Ivan S Chin
CD7 contains 16 tracks of medley melodies of some of the Chin's CD tracks without vocals.
Recorded Seamlesly with Fade in and Fade Out for none stop playing from the first to the last track.
Please Sit back and enjoy.
I'm sitting here listening to CD7, and I think it's great. Not just
great, but remarkable. This is the kind of window into what bands in
the 1950s did that I always love to find, so naturally I have all
kinds of questions.
A long time ago, you sent me some instrumental recordings from a tape
that you had. Some of these recordings on this CD are from that
tape, but at the time you said you were still searching around for
another tape(s). Are these tracks from those tapes? A couple of
tracks almost sound like the recordings with their lyrics removed
digitally - is this something you did with this reissue?
Dear Mr. Chin,
Thank you for your note. Yes, I really do love the cds. I listen to a great deal of Jamaican music podcasts and happened upon one about mento music where I first heard about your cd collection. I immediately ordered the set of 6 which I found at CD Baby.com. I have always been a fan of calypso but was not that familiar with mento. These cds are full of great music and although I have heard tell that the audio quality was not always good, I find them to be just fine. I have a music collection which includes a great deal of music from the time before the modern era with flashy studios and high production. I appreciate the music for what it is, rather than how good it can be produced.
I am grateful to have found such a collection as your cds all in one place without having to search for a great deal of vinyl and hope it was in playable condition. The music is inspiring and uplifting, while the sound is perfectly clear and nice. I would certainly recommend them to any of my like-minded friends.
Please don't hesitate to let me know if you ever put together any more collections such as these or have any recommendations for other sources of this great music. I would be first in line to make sure I could get my copy.
I've picked up a few other mento collections on cd but none with the character and flavor of your compilations.
Thanks again for your hard work to put these collections together and for your personal note.
Dear Mr. Chin,
I just discovered a 7th disc of your music on cd at CD Baby and am eagerly awaiting its arrival any day now. Thank you for making more of this great music available. I appreciate all the hard work that must go into compiling and distributing this music and I'm glad to be a part of it.
I look forward to perhaps more of it becoming available. I play it for my young children and hope they will be able to carry it around with them as well. They certainly like to dance to it now!
Thanks again and continued best wishes,
For most, when they think of Jamaican music they think only of reggae. I, however, think of the wonderful sounds of mento. This music so reflects the life in Jamaica during the 50's and 60's. Your 5 CDs are excellent examples of the music at its height in the 50's. Again they speak to the life experiences of those times. What a wonderful addition the Dan Neely liner notes are. The stripped down CD packaging is a welcome change from the over produced packing of so many CDs. When I first opened the package and saw the Cds in ziplock, I KNEW I was in store for something very special. I could feel that the producer had returned to perhaps the method used when these recordings were first recorded and distributed. I know I was very comfortable with your choice of packaging and wish others would follow your lead.
I have been a collector of calypso and mento music for many years, but your CDs have exposed me to so much more I didn't have or even heard. I am so happy that you are still available for those of us who love this music. I know it must have been a labor of love for you. I beleive Dan Neely is correct in saying "these records were some of the very best of the period because they were recorded for a strictly local market". I once corresponded with the late Emory Cook and I asked what motivated him to record the music of the Carribean and he implied - its sharing the traditional artists and their culture. I beleive you too must share that outlook. Your music isn't tourist music, it isn't the "blue eyed calypso" music of the 50's. It remains so Authentic and fresh. Mento, as calypso, can be both serious and funny. I pushed the boundaries for free speech. As do songs such as "Depression" and "Red tomato'.
Thank you for some of your time.
ONE OF MENTO'S GREAT VOICES SILENCED
By Daniel Neely Ethnomusicologist
Sunday, March 18, 2007
And another chapter of Jamaican music history comes to a close. On March 5th. 2007 , Alerth Rockfort Bedasse, one of Jamaica's great singers of the 1950s, passed away. In some ways, his story was typical - a man from country comes to town in search of a better life - but his success and influence on Jamaican music was anything but. It was my great good fortune to have met the man and to have learned about his life.
Alerth was musically inclined from the time he was a boy growing up in Colonel's Ridge, Clarendon. He started simply enough, singing in school and at 4-H meetings, but always found himself drawn to the musicians playing in the dancehalls. Those were the days in northern Clarendon when fiddlers like Allen Bryan and Sam Dyer from Mocho, and saxophonist/fife man Joe Shepherd from Rock River led groups that played quadrilles and mentos at community events.
Wanting to make music, Alerth first tried his hand at the banjo ukulele at the behest of a local banjoist known simply as "Dicky," but it was not until Alerth's cousin gave him a guitar as a gift that he found new focus. Alerth worked hard on his new instrument, once telling me "the district was alarmed at how quickly I learned".
He made his public debut at a wedding dance only a couple of chains from where he lived. "That night, I cannot forget," Alerth explained, "I did my best. Everybody applaud me; it was the talk of the town that I was excellent."
He remained in Clarendon, playing in other people's groups until November 1949, when his aunt, a higgler, took him to Kingston. For the first month, he was without prospect, a self-described "vagabond." Then, out with his guitar one day in early 1950, a man approached him:
"Do you play guitar, sir?"
"Yes, I play guitar."
"There's a gentleman down Oxford Street that I know, sells a lot of tract, would like a guitarist to accompany him. I wonder if you'd go?"
"Take me to him right away."
The man looking for a guitarist was Everald F Williams. Originally from St Ann, Williams was a teacher who spent some years working in Cuba and should be recognised as one of Jamaica's greatest songwriters. Described as "a disciplined and orderly man", Alerth told me that Williams began writing songs and selling them as tracts after World War II, picking up where the duo Slim and Sam left off in the early 1940s.
By the end of the decade, Williams had many well-known songs to his credit. During that time, Williams mainly performed with the singer Arnold "Lord" Davey, but when Davey went his own way, Alerth's guitar playing and signature voice - now, one of mento's paradigmatic sounds -was a perfect fit.
Over the next decade, Williams and Bedasse worked together extensively. In 1953, the BBC was the first to capture the sound of Alerth's voice on a Williams composition, Calypso Greetings To The Queen, written on the occasion of her Jamaican visit. At this time, Alerth had only limited renown, although Williams' reputation was substantial; for example, Williams was behind every one of the recordings Harold Richardson and the Ticklers made at that time, including the hits Healing In The Balmyard and Glamour Gal.
Once Williams and Bedasse began making their own records, Alerth became a star in his own right.
One of the most important recordings he made was the notorious Night Food, a top-selling yet sexually explicit record released in 1955; its success eventually led the group to Ivan Chin, on whose Chin's Radio Service label the group made upwards of eighty sides between 1955 and 1957. Some of these records were traditional 'folk' songs, others sentimental originals.
The ones that had the most substantial impact, however, were the rude titles, including Rough Rider, Big Boy And Teacher, and Red Tomato, which not only captured the popular imagination, but became the subjects of a Parliamentary inquiry that looked to ban offensive calypsos in 1956.
By the end of the decade, the association had ended. Williams took a job with Wray and Nephew, and although Alerth continued his singing career for a time, he too moved on, becoming an accountant and raising a family.
Although his career was short, Alerth's musical influence was substantial. Covers of the songs he and Williams made, have been recorded countless times by artistes including U-Roy, Joe Higgs and the Skatalites, while traces of Alerth's voice can be heard in the singing styles of important later artistes like Eric Donaldson and Stanley Beckford.
Through his music, Alerth certainly stands among the best, and future generations of musicians will undoubtedly help keep his legacy the talk of the town.
by Michael Josephson
used with permission of the author
Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear.
So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists will expire.The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won't matter where you came from
or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.
It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So what will matter?
How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought
but what you built, not what you got but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success
but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned
but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity,
compassion, courage, or sacrifice
that enriched, empowered or encouraged others
to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence
but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew,
but how many will feel a lasting loss when your gone.
What will matter is not your memories
but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered,
by whom and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident.
It's not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.
For more information and history, please visit the MENTO MUSIC SITE of MIKE GARNICE at mento music.com/chins
Ivan S Chin
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