April 2015

Michael “Louis” Owens Lifetime Member, President 2011 – present

Michael “ Louis” Owens started buying records in 1972, his first being a Marvin Gaye record.  In 1984 his serious indoctrination into the vinyl record collecting business took place when his uncle Gersham “ Doc” White brought a set of over 300 45’s for him from Canada. These were all doubles from Doc’s personal collection and heavily influenced his musical appreciation.  Things have never quite been the same since then as it relates to record collecting as “The untrained Hand” as he was once referred to by a prominent music man is now known as “The Silent Master”

Originally from Waterhouse, Louis is a rounded collector of all genres of music.  He always plays to entertain but confesses to getting a buzz when he’s playing Ska.

Louis was introduced to VRCA in a working capacity on a voluntary basis in 2006 by our first President Richard “ Billy T” Elcock when he was asked to spearhead a team to organize  the MWE “Sit in” that year in Jamaica.

A strong supporter of VRCA he was appointed a Lifetime member in 2007 and elected President in 2011, he has promoted inclusivity, in word and in deed and constantly refers to his VRCA associates as team members.

Michael “Mikey” Neysmith - Founder- Director /Lifetime Member - Vice President

The very first Memorial Weekend “Sit- In” (MWE) event was hosted in 1998 by Michael “Mikey” Neysmith to celebrate the memory of his dear friend Astley “Chunie” Pessoa, a passionate vinyl collector who had died tragically.  The consensus was that also worthy of commemoration at that time were Duke Fuller, Pro McClennon, Michael “Fat Willie” Williams, collectors whose contributions to the art form of vinyl collecting were to be celebrated.

Although exposed to music at an early age as he grew up in a community with a rich assortment of musicians such as Count Ossie’s Mystic Revelation and Don Drummond as well as DJ’s Stan “Soul Merchant” and “Big Roy”, it would be the lyrics of a song he heard being played on radio while in England that transformed his actual awareness of music. On his return to Jamaica while still in high school he started collecting vinyl (although he had nothing on which to play them).

After migrating to Philadelphia in the mid 70’s, he reunited with an old friend “Chunie” and the vinyl collecting heated up.  Mikey always stays true to himself and collects what he likes, rather that what others say is good.  

He was bestowed with a VRCA Lifetime Achievement Award at the MWE New York event in 2010 and currently is our Vice President.

Eric Cyrus Jr. Lifetime Member/ Director- Treasurer

A VRCA cornerstone with unwavering dedication. Junior has been with our organization since the very first Sit-in in 1998. A longtime and actively involved Kiwanian he has brought a wealth of experience and organizational skills to VRCA. He was instrumental in the drafting of our By-Laws and also registering our organization in Florida. Our annual magazine has been his “baby”, evolving from its first publication as a mere pamphlet in 2006 to a now professional looking magazine. Editor-in-Chief, on a voluntary basis, along with his team of Roslyn and Ruth Cyrus, Charlotte Smikle, we now have an annually produced magazine of which VRCA is extremely proud.

Junior is a co-host of the Vintage Vinyl show on the collectorskornernow.com network (CKN)- a role he thoroughly enjoys with a seemingly reinvorated zest for the music. Definitely a top vinyl collector whose musical offerings we are privileged to enjoy on CKN and at various venues in and outside of South Florida.  

Caryl Ward, Director - Secretary

A dedicated, reliable member, Caryl is the current Secretary/Director of the VRCA.  He joined our organization in 2010 after being a more than frequent supporter at events prior. His early musical influence came from hearing the various sound systems in the Rousseau Road area in Kingston, Jamaica where he lived. Tres and Merritone Discos he remembers as being amongst his favorite sound systems then. Form early to mid 1960’s as a student Caryl was drawn to buying records with his very limited resources. He was privileged in those days to have experienced the likes of the great Tommy McCook live at Bournemouth and Victoria Pier. Graduating from school in the late 1960’s, entering the working world and now with more disposable income, record stores like Aquarius, Record Plaza and Times Store became his favorite haunts to purchase even more records.  

After a four-year stay in Canada (1972-76) Caryl returned to Jamaica and then migrated to New York in 1980.  It was almost inevitable that with his love of music and records that he would eventually meet Paul Hutton.  As the saying goes, the rest is history.  

A co-founder of collectorskornernow.com (CKN), he along with his co-host, his wife Pat who is the smooth voice of CKN can be heard on weekly programs on CKN. Caryl has a passion (a hobby second only to records of course) for photography and possesses an enviable pictorial record of many VRCA events that he willingly shares.

Charlotte Smikle - Assistant Secretary

Growing up, music was always an integral part of her household.  Her mother played the piano and listened to classical music while her father loved jazz and ballads.  The latest model gramophone then stereo player could always be found in her house with a record playing.  She recalls in the 60’s when her parents entertained that a 3-piece Mento band would sometimes be a feature.  This influenced her love of music and she readily admits that she enjoys the music from 50’s – 60’s the most, and with no apology her favourite artist will always be Nat King Cole.

A lover of all genres with the exceptions being dancehall and country & western Charlotte is always looking for a musical event whether live or recorded to attend, either as a passive listener or with some good music to dance to. As a listener Charlotte has a very critical ear and if the offering is not up to her standards she may politely request that, “Someone please turn off the radio”.

VRCA first came onto her radar in 2006 when the event was hosted in Jamaica; she was hooked.  Recruited in 2011 to be a part of the organizing team when Jamaica executed the 14th Annual MWE celebrations in 2011, later that year she made history by becoming the first non-collector to be invited to become a VRCA member. Appointed as Assistant Secretary in 2013, she is now also a part of our magazine production team.  

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