Headly Jones - early JA sound system builder

Talk to your hearts content.....but keep it sweet! No record sales, live events listings or ebay labba labba.

Moderator: B&F Moderator

Headly Jones - early JA sound system builder

Postby Chocolate Soldier » Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:32 pm

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertai ... al_9902018

On May 8, 1943, Jones volunteered for the British Royal Air Force. In early 1944 he received training in England as a radar engineer and served until the end of hostilities in Europe, on May 8, 1945. After the War, he served in the British post-War clean up campaign, was called for disbandment in March 1946 and returned to Jamaica in May 1946.

Back home, Jones applied his RAF technical training and started a radio service business on King Street in Kingston. In 1947, he expanded his business becoming one of the first independent small businessmen to sell imported jazz records.

His training enabled him to produce sound amplifiers that met a growing need in musical entertainment. This attracted the attention of Tom Wong, a hardware store owner who asked Jones to build him a sound system. Tom The Great Sebastian's dance parties were immensely popular and became the basis for the sound system tradition that still flourishes today. Others, including legends Arthur 'Duke' Reid and Clement 'Sir Coxsone' Dodd, not to be outdone, asked Jones for sound systems of their own. Today, the sound system is a recognised symbol of Jamaican music and has had an inestimable influence on music worldwide.


In 1943 he joined the British Royal Air Force, trained as a radar engineer, and served in Europe during World War II, returning to Jamaica in 1946. He started a radio servicing business in Kingston, and imported jazz records from the US. He began making amplifiers in the late 1940s, and played jazz and Cuban records through them at his record store, Bop City. Jones built powerful amplifiers, with the technologically advanced capacity to distinguish and enhance treble, mid-range and bass frequencies.[1] He later wrote:[6]

"The public address system prior to World War II was designed to electronically respond to a limited range of audio frequencies, covering voice and general purposes. As against such limitation, a Jamaican sound system was designed to respond with low surface noise, low distortion and high fidelity, over the complete audio range of frequencies from 15 Hz to 20 kHz: a huge technological difference. The Jones model High-Fidelity audio amplifier of 1947 was designed to perform the function of reproduction of the full audio spectrum; and that was the model Tom Wong acquired and named a Sound System. Before that era noisy PA systems were the norm."

He then helped build an early sound system for hardware store owner and DJ Tom Wong, known as Tom the Great Sebastian. After Wong's success in establishing the popularity of dance parties, Jones built sound systems for rival DJs, including Arthur 'Duke' Reid, whose Trojan sound system became the most popular, and Clement 'Sir Coxsone' Dodd. In 1963, Dodd commissioned Jones to build the equipment for his Studio One recording studios in Kingston.[5] Jones is described as "probably Jamaica's most important pioneer of sound system electronics".[7]
Chocolate Soldier
Posts: 5802
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 7:24 pm
Location: Spaceship Earth

Return to General discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: DJ Conscious, Google [Bot] and 5 guests