What a better world sounds like


Charlie Chin:
Story of a storyteller

A Bindu Records profile

Part 1 of 4

William David Chin, better known by his nickname "Charlie," has been performing, composing, writing, and teaching for more than 30 years. These days his current projects include developing and directing the Peninsula Chapter of the National Asian American Writer's Workshop, serving as artistic director for the Annual City of San Mateo Asian Pacific Heritage Celebration, and teaching creative writing at the Kearny Street Workshop of San Francisco.

Charlie's fruitful career in the arts can be traced back to the 1960s. He headed for Greenwich Village in New York City to join the blossoming folk music scene in 1962. Already an accomplished musician on several instruments, Charlie was finding a ready audience in the cafe and night clubs of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. By 1964, he was a familiar attraction at music festivals such as the Newport Folk Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, and the Toronto Music Celebration.

By the late 1960s, Charlie felt constrained by the classical music world of teaching and recitals and chose to join the swelling rock-and-roll movement that was sweeping the United States. Charlie performed as a guest artist with nationally known groups such as Jesse's First Carnival and The Buffalo Springfield, and he formed several popular bands which successfully tourned the United States and Canada.

Charlie founded the fouse hand at New York's premiere Rock Palace, the Electric Circus. In 1969, the group went on to sign with Polydor Records under the name Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys. Their first album, The Street Giveth and the Street Taketh Away, was produced by long-time friend and rock legend Jimi Hendrix. They recorded a national hit single, Good Old Rock and Roll, as well as two major hits, Marie and Track in A, in France and Germany.

ABOVE Charlie performs in the Grain of Sand Reunion Concert at UC Berkeley in October 1997. Photograph © Brad Shirakawa ... click image for enlargement

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