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"The pan which took 'Spree' to glory, had actually been bought from a man named Andrew "Pan" De La Bastide for a shilling (24 cents)," Goddard stated. 

"It was the first pan ever sold." 

Goddard, however, was not alone in leveling the serious charge. With him were several stalwarts of the steelband movement: Carlton Comstance "Zigilly" Barrow, former member of Hellyard (now Catelli All Stars), John Slater and Mc Kellar "Big Mac" Sandiford. 

Steelpan History Myth Busted

As Stevie Wonder sang, "When you believe in things that you don't understand, then YOU suffer". This "hoax" has been exposed since the 1980's, and yet "very superstitious" people, cannot see the "writings on the wall". So, we as a nation, are okay with a person receiving the nation's highest award, based on a lie. I am yet to meet the person, who can articulate how this untruth about such an important part of steelband history.is beneficial for the steelbands, its people, and its movement. A history, built on a lie, will not stand the test of time. What is amazing, that this is still even a debate, even after these pan pioneers busted this myth in 1987. 

Ghost. Same philosophy; different attitude.

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Claude, we are not denying that Spree made a contribution - as did so many others. By 1940 (the year after Victor Totee Wilson played (beat) his pan in Alexander Ragtime Band) a few more tamboo bamboo bands came on the road with pans included in their line up -The Hell Yard Second Fiddle, Grow More Food - who later changed their name to Tripoli; Oval Boys, as well as Hell Kitchen and Harlem Nightingales, to name a few. During the war years (1942 to 1945) carnival was banned, and during this hibernation period, significant improvements were made so that by V.E Day May 8th 1945 (when bands were again allowed on to the streets) the instrument had gone through a type of metamorphosis.More notes had been added; it was also during this period (some say 1943) that Ellie Mannette put rubber on his stick to obtain a more mellow tone. Carnival returned in 1946 and it was then that Spree made his appearance playing a pan that he bought from Andrew 'Pan De La Bastide

Spree was born in 1930 in south Trinidad; he came as a teenager to live in John John. So do the maths - in 1939 he would have been 9 years old and therefore not yet living in Port of Spain.

Gentlemen, please, the story is well known. Alexander Ragtime could not play melodies; they came with cuff-booms, du-dups and flat pans with no notes. Never mind Lord Humbugger in front with scissor-tale coat and top-hat with music sheets.Notes were first placed on pans in Hell Yard (cf Big Head Hamil & Eric Stowe playing "three-note" kettles backing up Roaring Lion in Feb 1940, the very first recording of pan, then Zigilee and Jules contested for the pride of place as greatest "three-note" kettle players - it was slung around the shoulder and played with two sticks. Jules added the fourth-note ( half the scale) on what came to be called "ping-pongs" and was the first to play melodies. The pan that Andrew Pan De La Bastide sold to Spree was a Neville Jules styled ping-pong. Andrew came to Trinidad and said so openly. Jules then introduced the steel orchestra - what he called his "family of pans." Ellie was a master turner (he worked in the foundry and knew how to handle and process metal, he re-configurated Jules' note placement on the ping-pong and his note arrangement became the accepted way to place the notes. Why are we still arguing all this? Soon to be published: "The Birth of Steel-Drum Music and the Story of Trinidad All Stars" by yours truly.

Bukka Rennie,

You sound like you have the correct story, can you tell us how you came about this story?

Cecil Hinkson,

I worked on the book for 10 years, collecting everything written about Pan to date locally and abroad, and interviewed exensively all the old pan people whom I met - Big Head Hamil(late), Prince Batson (late), Neville Jules, Noel Ginghee Davidson (Boots' elder brother), Dr. Leroy Boldon, Bully Alleyne(late), Roy Gibbs(late), Audra Preddie, Julien Darius, Lennox Pierre (late) etc.I pieced the story together chronologically and cross-referenced all the info. Every statement was backed by evidence and had to be supported by at least two persons. That's how History is handled correctly. I hope that All Stars ( this band commissioned me to do the work) and their sponsor eventually see it fit to publish this book that establishes without any doubt that the "melody-pans' and the "steel-orchestra" was created in Hell Yard. 

Bukka Rennie I hope your book do get published, I'll be looking forward to reading it.

Bukka, Is that the Roy Gibbs from City Syncopators from Boots days?

Then he went to All Stars, I think

Indeed he did, no doubt, but by "keep it real", we ensure the legacy garners more impact.

The history of steelpan as chronicled in Trini­dad newspapers is now only a click away. As a result of a grant from UWI and collaboration between students at UWI and the UWI library, more than 4,000 newspaper articles related to the history of steelpan in T&T will be uploaded to the Web...http://www.guardian.co.tt/carnival/2014-01-27/tt-steelpan-newspaper...

Title: Lies and distortions of pan.
Author: Rennie, Bukka
This is article written is written in response to an online one entitled "Persistence of Trinidad native pans out" which credits Ellie Mannette with the development of the steelpan in Trinidad and Tobago as well creating seven of the instruments in a ten-piece steelband, but who has been "ridiculed" and scorned by the T&T society. Rennie, the author of the article refutes the claims made in the article arguing that while Ellie Mannette did contribute to the development of steelpan, the work of pan pioneers such as Spree Simon, Neville Jules, Bertie Marshall, Rudolph Charles and Tony Williams cannot be overlooked. Concern was expressed over the legitimacy of the award Ellie received from the US government, as the author felt that they were fabricated.

Since you assert that you were commissioned by All Stars to write this so called HISTORY of the invention/creation of the steel pan, does your credibility come into question here, most of the names mentioned as sources. [most not all] are from east POS area What other results do you expect? HOW DO 6OU ACCOUNT FOR THE UNIVERSALLY accepted FACT THAT MIDNIGHTINVADERS IS THE OLDEST RECOGNIZED STEELBAND THE FIRST STEELBAND. SPREE invented nor created anything. He was a good player in the mid to late 40s. Thats all. Whose name constantly comes up among most old panmen asthe inventor?? WOULD YOU SAY YOU HAVE AN AXE [like most of us old timers] to grind against MIDNIGHT INV
ADERS??.Jusr saying...

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