Randy’s Records

Vincent ‘Randy’ Chin, a Chinese-Jamaican, Kingston
“Vincent ‘Randy’ Chin (born 3 October 1937, Kingston, Jamaica died 2 February 2003, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States) was a Jamaican record producer and label owner who ran the Randy’s shop, recording studio, and record label, later moving to New York City and setting up the VP Records empire, now the world’s largest independent label and distributor of Caribbean music in the world. Chin was the son of a carpenter who left mainland China for a brief stay in Cuba, and then permanently settled in the 1920s in Jamaica. As a teenager in the early 1950s, Vincent oversaw the stocking and maintenance of jukeboxes in the island’s bars for Isaac Issa, a prominent Syrian-Jamaican businessman. He kept the excess and replaced records and used them to open up his Randy’s Records store on the corner of East and Tower streets in Kingston in 1958 on (the name coming from an American record store that sponsored an R&B radio show that could be picked up on the island).”

In pictures: Randy’s Records
“From Kingston to New York, VP Records remains one of the most influential reggae labels in the world. To celebrate the 50th birthday of Randy’s, the record shop from which the label sprang, VP Records will be releasing a two-disc compilation featuring tracks from the Skalites, Horace Andy and the late Alton Ellis. Revisit the 1960s and 70s heydays of Randy’s in these rare behind-the-scenes photographs”

“By the mid-’70s, Rastafarian themes were becoming ever more prevalent, but back in 1969 they were decidedly unique and not overly popular. ‘Bongo Nyah,’ however, broke that mold, one of the first to not merely contain an overt Rasta message, but to take it to the top of the Jamaican chart. Unlike the other brethren then on the scene, Earl ‘Little Roy’ Lowe doesn’t even bother to veil his lyrics, although he lulls listeners into a false sense of security by kicking off with a couple of lines from the nursery rhyme ‘Bah Bah Black Sheep.’ From there, he and backing singer Donovan Carless dive straight into dread waters, consigning unbelievers to burn in the fire and demanding to know how they can resist Jah when they have bald heads. Set to an irrepressibly bouncy reggae rhythm, delivered up with gusto by the Hippy Boys while Lloyd Charmers’ organ gaily tinkles out like church bells or even a child’s music box, ‘Bongo’ was irresistible. Overseen by producer Lloyd Daley, this was to be his Matador label’s biggest hit of the year, and deservedly so.”
allmusic (Video)

YouTube: Little Roy – Bongo nyah (1969 Matador blank)


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