Fully Fullwood, founder and anchor of the crucial '70s reggae band the Soul Syndicate, brings the band to the SNWMF for their first U.S. performance in many years. Appearing with Fully on stage will be original members of the band, Tony Chin on rhythm guitar and Donovan Carless on lead vocals, as well as the great Santa Davis on drums, Jamaka Johnson on keyboards, Dwight Pinkney on lead guitar, Tenor Grant, Derrick Hinds and Arnold Brackenridge on horns. The Soul Syndicate rose to prominence in Kingston in the 1970s along with other groups such as the Wailers, The Upsetters, and Skin, Flesh & Bones. The group became Jamaica's most prolific hit maker during the golden era of reggae in the 70s. Various members of the band have included Max Edwards, Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, Earl "Chinna" Smith, Glen Adams, Leslie Butler, Keith Sterling, Cleon Douglas and Freddie McGregor. Performing under various names such as the The Agrovators when recording for producer Bunny Lee, Impact All Stars when recording for Randy’s, or The Observers when in session for Niney, the group has cut tracks for Bob Marley, Big Youth, Dennis Brown, U-Roy, Horace Andy, Cornel Campbell, Johnny Clarke and a host of other reggae headliners. During a U.S. tour in 1976 Warren Smith signed Soul Syndicate to Epiphany Records. At Harry J Studio they recorded "Harvest Uptown / Famine Downtown," one of the first Jamaican albums ever to be produced by an American. A coast-to-coast U.S. tour followed, garnering critical acclaim and many new fans. In a subsequent visit to Jamaica, Warren discovered roots singer Earl Zero (original author of Johnny Clarke's now famous "None Shall Escape the Judgment") and, with the Syndicate, released his 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 included 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 a solo album saw the light of day, this time from one of the 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: linking roots session players Santa, Family Man Barrett and Ras Augustus Pablo with former Turtles Mark "Flo" Volman and Howard "Eddie" Kaylan. Produced by Chinna Smith, 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 Syndicates "Friends and Family" is a definitive collection of 17 reggae tracks by artists who have recorded on the Epiphany label since 1977. Freddie McGregor, Augustus Pablo and Tony Chin share their Syndicate-backed recording projects with us. Vintage tracks from Kansas City's own 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.