Soul Syndicate

Soul Syndicate have a long history as one of the top reggae session bands in Jamaica. The band was founded by bass player George “Fully” Fulwood, and core members include guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith, drummer Carlton “Santa” Davis, rhythm guitarist Tony Chin and keyboard player Bernard “Touter” Harvey, later bringing in Keith Sterling on keyboards.

Soul Syndicate created the “Taxi” and “Stalag 17” basslines that provided the foundation for two decades of hit songs for dozens of reggae artists.  The number of artists they have backed in studio is too long to count, but standouts include Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Big Youth, Horace Andy, Augustus Pablo, Max Romeo, Tenor Saw, Junior Byles and many many more.  Freddie McGregor was for a time the band’s lead vocalist.

Soul Syndicate has a long history and very special relationship with SNWMF and Epiphany Artists. SNWMF Founder Warren Smith in 1976 signed Soul Syndicate to his label, Epiphany Records. At Harry J Studio in Jamaica, they recorded “Harvest Uptown / Famine Downtown,” one of the first Jamaican albums to be produced by an American. A coast-to-coast U.S. tour followed which garnered critical acclaim and many new fans.

In a subsequent visit to Jamaica, Warren met roots singer Earl Zero (author of Johnny Clarke’s now famous “None Shall Escape the Judgment”) and, with the Syndicate, Warren released Earl’s dread “Visions of Love” album in 1979. Epiphany released Soul Syndicate’s “Was, Is and Always” the following year. Largely a tribute to 1960s Jamaican standards, the cuts on “Was, Is and Always” include personal favorites of the Syndicate as well as their own originally-penned harmonies of falsetto wickedness, a subtle salute to America’s 1950s pop vocals.

In 1982. Epiphany released a solo album from Soul Syndicate drummer and vocalist Max Edwards. “Rockers Arena,” the title cut from the album of the same name, proved a big hit in clubs and gained significant airplay.

Shortly thereafter came a first in Jamaican music which linked roots session players Santa Davis, Family Man Carlton Barrett and Ras Augustus Pablo with former Turtles, Mark “Flo” Volman and Howard “Eddie” Kaylan. Produced by Chinna Smith and released by Epiphany, the mix resulted in “Rock Steady with Flo & Eddie,” a bubbling stew of true Jamaican oldies – Stewart’s “Sitting In the Park” meets Stranger Cole and Gladdy’s “Just Like A River.”

Soul Syndicate’s “Friends and Family” album is a definitive collection of 17 reggae tracks by artists who had recorded on the Epiphany label since 1977. Freddie McGregor, Augustus Pablo and Tony Chin share their Syndicate-backed recording projects. Vintage tracks from Kansas City’s renown Blue Riddim Band spice up the mix. From the Syndicate In Action (SIA) to Happy Together, this compilation brings together two decades of work from some of reggae’s greatest institutions, the Soul Syndicate and their musical friends.

Harvest Uptown, Famine Downtown (1977)
Moodie In Dub Vol 1 (1978)
Nuh Skin Up Dub (1979)
Only Jah Can Ease The Pressure (1979)
Was, Is, & Always (1980)
Visions Of Love (1980)
Roots Radics Meet Soul Syndicate In Dub (198?)
Friends and Family (1996) Epiphany Artists

June 16 @ 12:00
12:00 — 13:00 (1h)