Tony Chin... The rhythm in Soul Syndicate: Jamaica Observer

Tony Chin... The rhythm in Soul Syndicate

Howard Campbell
Jamaica Observer
Friday, January 31, 2003

Tony Chin

FOR much of the 1970s, one of the leading show and recording bands in Jamaica was the Soul Syndicate Band. It was a top-notch unit that included drummer Carlton "Santa" Davis, bass player George "Fully" Fullwood, and guitarists Earl "Chinna" Smith and Tony Chin.

Chin was born in Kingston; he grew up in Trench Town and Greenwich Farm, areas bursting at the seams with musical talent in the late 1960s when Chin began his recording career. An original member of the Soul Syndicate Band, one of Chin's best-known songs from the early years was Bob Marley's Mr Brown; but by 1972, the band had linked with upcoming producer Winston "Niney" Holness and a fast-rising teenaged singer named Dennis Brown.

Chin and the Soul Syndicate played on several of Brown's hits for Holness, including Westbound Train and Cassandra. As their reputation grew, so did the demand for them to play for other acts including Ken Boothe (Silver Words); Johnny Clarke's Move Outa Babylon; My Heart Is Gone by John Holt; Green Bay Killing by Big Youth and Uptown Top Ranking, a smash hit in Jamaica and the United Kingdom in 1977 for Althea and Donna.

His rhythmic runs can be heard on albums such as Burning Spear's Marcus Garvey, Jimmy Cliff's Follow My Mind and Judy Mowatt's classic Black Woman.

Chin migrated to the United States in 1981 where he continued to record and play the club scene in Los Angeles. In 1994, Chin and Davis helped a California band called Big Mountain to the top of the Billboard charts with a remake of the Peter Frampton song, Baby I Love Your Way.

Now in his late '40s, Chin continues to record. In 2000, his first album, Music & Me, was released.

Posted: Tue - March 4, 2003 at 10:15 PM