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William David “Charlie” Chin

Guitar, Vocals, Banjo 1967-1969


  • New York 
  • Duo with Pete Smith
  • Four Winds Café
  • Hunker Hill Ramblers with Jay Ungar
  • A Grain of Sand
  • Nobody’s
  • Community Folklore Scholar
  • Chinatown Historical Society  

Charlie was born William David Chin on April 8, 1944 in Brooklyn, New York. In his teens his learned to play banjo in the Pete Seeger tradition, using his books for instruction. 

After graduating from CITY H.S. in 1962, he spent time in Greenwich Village with pickers like Roy Michaels, Peter Thorkelson, and Stephen Stills playing longneck banjo.

By 1964 he was managing the Four Winds Café where he joined the duo of Ted Marchbein and Jay Ungar to become The Hunker Hill Ramblers. 

Through an old friendship with Stephen Stills, he played banjo on the outro to the Buffalo Springfield hit, Bluebird in 1967.  That same year he ran into Roy Michaels who drafted him into the nascent Cat Mother.   

After Cat Mother, Chin in 1970 joined with Chris Iijima and Nobuko Miyamoto in a trio that toured the United States and released A Grain of Sand, considered to be the first Asian American musical album. In 1989, the Smithsonian Institution presented Chin with the “Community Folklore Scholar Certificate” in recognition of his work in Asian American Studies. Chin is also a member of the American Folklore Society