Sound System and Producer Charlie Collins is dead

Sound System and Producer Charlie Collins is dead - - Charlie Collins, a pioneer in British West Indian entertainment, died on March 28 in England at age 81.

Charlie Collins - Producer and Sound System operator

Known as Sir Collins, he was born and raised in Greenwich Farm, Kingston. He moved to England at 20 years old and quickly established himself in the country's growing Jamaican and Caribbean community.

His clubs included the Sir Collins, Dalston Lane and Four Aces, which attracted top acts such as Ben E King and Jimmy Cliff. With the help of his boyhood friend, producer Bunny Lee, Collins returned to Jamaica regularly during the late 1960s to conduct recording sessions with artistes.

Using Lee's session musicians, Collins did a number of songs with Jamaican performers who had a following in England, including Owen Gray. Most of those songs were for his Collins Down Beat label.

It was with Gray that he had his greatest musical success. Their collaboration produced songs like Sincerely, which was popular in British reggae circles.

Antonio “Chips” Richards, another Jamaican who made his name in the British music industry, remembers Collins as “a real radical”.

According to Richards, who worked with Trojan Records, “He used to hang out with people like (Count) Suckle and Duke Vin — a set of characters.”

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