Vincent George Forbes
25 October 1928
|Died||3 November 2012 (aged 84)|
London, England, United Kingdom
|Occupation||Sound system operator|
|Known for||Operating the first Jamaican-style sound system in the UK|
He began his career as a selector on the Tom the Great Sebastian sound system in the early 1950s, being given a chance after helping Tom Wong to change a tyre on his car. At the time he was known as 'Shine-Shoes Vinny' due to his smart appearance.
After travelling to England in 1954 as a stowaway on a boat from Kingston, he found work as an engine cleaner for British Rail, becoming an electrician two years later. George built his first sound system in 1955 using a second-hand turntable bought from a shop in Edgware Road, a speaker bought for £15 and an amplifier built for £4, soon establishing 'Duke Vin the Tickler's', in Ladbroke Grove, London, the first Jamaican-style sound system in the UK. The sound system played an important part in popularising ska in Britain. He initially played R&B but soon concentrated on Jamaican music - he was supplied with fresh Jamaican releases, including many from Studio One, by the Daddy Peckings shop in West London. Fellow Jamaican Count Suckle soon set up a sound system in the same area, leading to a rivalry between the two and several sound clashes, with Vin involved in the UK's first clash in 1958.
In the late 1960s he served time in prison after being convicted of pimping, a charge that he denied. On his release he built a larger sound system and bought a house off Harrow Road. One of the tracks that exclusively featured on his sound system was "The Tickler", a track produced by Derrick Harriott that was unavailable elsewhere until it was released in 2006.
He was the subject of the 2009 documentary film Duke Vin and the Birth of Ska, directed by Gus Berger.
He died in London on 3 November 2012.
- "Duke Vin", Daily Telegraph, 23 November 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012
- "Unsung: Duke Vin: sound system pioneer", Jamaica Observer, 16 November 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012
- Katz, David (2006) People Funny Boy: The Genius of Lee "Scratch" Perry, Omnibus Press, ISBN 978-1846094439, p. 16
- Salewicz, Chris (2012) "Duke Vin: 'Soundman' who brought sound systems to Britain", The Independent, 21 November 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012
- Hutton, Clinton (2007) "Forging Identity And Community Through Aestheticism and Entertainment: The Sound System and The Rise Of The DJ", Caribbean Quarterly, 1 December 2007. Retrieved 1 December 2012 – via HighBeam (subscription required)
- Burrell, Ian (2009) "The Duke of Notting Hill", The Independent, 4 September 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2012 – via HighBeam (subscription required)
- Barrow, Steve & Dalton, Peter (2004) The Rough Guide to Reggae, 3rd edn., Rough Guides, ISBN 978-1843533290, p. 384
- Hebdige, Dick (1987) Cut 'N' Mix, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415058759, p. 77
- Beckford, Robert (2006) Jesus Dub: Theology, Music and Social Change, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415310185, p. 41
- Broughton, Simon et al (eds.) (2000) World Music: The Rough Guide, Rough Guides, ISBN 978-1858286365, p. 457
- Bradley, Lloyd (2001) Bass Culture: When Reggae was King, Penguin, ISBN 978-0140237634, p. 115
- Duke Vin and the Birth of Ska, Gusto Films