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“The Soul Syndicate members dem, dem are all icons”

Interview and multi-media
by Stephen Cooper

On February 26, before coronavirus disrupted normal rhythms of life all over the world, I spoke for twenty minutes with my friend, legendary guitarist Tony Chin, at the Dub Club in Los Angeles; only a few hours later, in a spirited, sizzling performance, Tony would headline a memorable show there with fellow legendary members of the Soul Syndicate—the top studio band in Jamaica during the 1970s—bassist George “Fully” Fullwood, and drummer Carlton “Santa” Davis. What follows is a transcript of our discussion, modified only slightly for clarity and space considerations.

Q: Thanks for talking with me briefly, Tony, before headlining [here] tonight at the Dub Club. Now Santa just released—on the first of this month—an incredibly cool solo album, “Africa Is My Home.”
Tony Chin: Uh-huh, you know I haven’t heard it yet?

Q: You haven’t? Oh man, [it’s] a great album!
Tony Chin: Yeah mon.

Q: I know also, you [too] are going to be releasing, any moment now, [a solo] album [called] “Unstoppable.”
Tony Chin: [I’m going to release] two albums soon.

Q: Two [albums]?
Tony Chin: Yeah, “Unstoppable,” original music, and then, “Jamaican Classics: Chapter Two.” I have [an album already released called] “Jamaican Classics: Chapter One,” with rocksteady music. [So] I did a part two. And this one is even better than the first one.

Q: So that’s the second album that’s coming out. But let me go back for a second [to] “Unstoppable,” [the] fourteen-track album that you let me listen to a copy [of], that has the single you’ve [already] released, “Watch Out Fi Dis.” When is the rest of the album coming out? Will it be coming out this month?
Tony Chin: It’ll be coming out between March and April. [The album] is finished. The engineer[, Raymond Valles,] is coming to the Dub Club tonight; [he] is bringing me the master [recording] so I can listen to it—[and] agree that everything is okay [with it]. If it were [solely] up to me, the album would [have] been [released] a few months ago, but the engineer keeps mixing it. [Anyway,] I’m gonna get the master [recording] tonight [from him], and when I listen to it, and give it the go ahead, we’re gonna send it to press.

Continued on Page Two–>>