Clive Chin @ London International Ska Fest & Meeting the Slackers

Clive Chin

Clive Chin Hanging Out Backstage at The London International Ska Festival 2011

Clive Chin, of Randy Records, is generally considered an unsung hero of 1970’s reggae productions. While working under his father at the family business, Randy’s Record Store, and the upstairs Studio 17 he helped usher in seminal recordings by the likes of (Bob Marley &) the Wailers, Tommy McCook, Alton Ellis, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Lee Perry and Black Uhuru.

Since 2007 Mr. Chin has been steadily re-introducing the Randy’s vast back catalog to reggae audiences everywhere via his VP Records imprint 17 North Parade (, an imprint specifically set up for this purpose. There has been a steady stream of choice material to be sure! Each release is well put together with plenty of care dedicated to the music contained in each. You can read an interview HERE and a video promoting the special 50th anniversary set HERE that helped get it all started.

He did a tour of China last year and was booked to spin some of his favorite vinyl cuts during the London International Ska Fest in April. This was good news to me as when he came to LA back in April 2009 I was unable to attend the show that night at the Dub Club with Triston Palmer. I’m sure it was nice but this would be great and it was. He brought some love to London that night. Check out a video of some of his set below.

Randy’s Records’ Clive Chin rocks the night away after Ken Boothe’s performance at the Clapham Grand Theatre. Skinhead ska dance party inna London!!!

It’s interesting to read his comments from a Blood & Fire interview he did back in 2005 where he talked about getting back into the studio and doing music again. He had this to say:

“To be honest, I haven’t been in a recording studio in a while. It’s just lately I got involved in production with a young set of musicians from Brooklyn, The Slackers. I ran into one of the musicians last year. He said to me, he would love for me to come down and sit in on one of the recordings. These guys, they all intrigued me so much that I got involved in
the production. They’re all young musicians in their twenties, and they have fresh ideas: reggae, ska, rocksteady. And when I worked with them for a couple weeks, they laid down all the tracks at Coyote in Brooklyn. And when it came down to mixing time, I went down there and mixed a few songs for them. I felt like I was going back into the past. I started feeling so comfortable around the board, that to tell you the truth, a feeling of purity came back into me; I was energized.”

He went on to say: “I tell you something, this record opened my eyes: that what I’ve been doing for the past twenty years since I’ve been up here, I’ve been wasting time. I should really get back into it 100%. It sort of gave me confidence in myself; it opened back my morality to see where I can contribute more. Because I felt at one time that I had lost it totally. When I say I lost it, I mean I felt insecure that if I walked into the studio, I couldn’t even put up a phaser on the board, or even try to listen to a bass line, or even try to brighten up a guitar or a piano. But working with these guys, it brought me back a lot of confidence. And I really feel good about it within myself. I feel very confident that I can do it.”

In meeting him on the 3rd night of the fest that feeling was carried over. It felt like he was genuine in saying he had a great time. He exuded a calmness about him that night like he was enjoying spinning records and that it sort of took him back to an earlier time as well. That’s saying a lot as he has been busy of late as you can see.After getting back home and catching up on things I reconnected with Mr. Chin. I just to tell him it was a pleasure to meet him and I look forward to new releases. We talked a little bit about music and I mentioned getting him to come to LA for another show. He said that would be a great idea and I think it’s time to have a return trip as he continues to move Randy’s into the 21st century.

I've been involved in the Los Angeles music scene since at least 1995 going to shows, promoting, spinning records and running labels. Ska and Early Reggae are my passion among other things of course.