My good friend Jerry Stein made many trips to Jamaica in the late 1970s to film and record some of the islands most talented musicians including Augustus Pablo, Hugh Mundell, Earl Zero, Earl “Chinna” Smith, and the fantastic Soul Syndicate band. Some of the music and footage would later appear in Stein’s film Word, Sound, and Power.

Unfortunately, Stein passed away several years ago. However, several weeks before his passing he gifted me with a whole heap of rare reggae archives, collectibles, and memorabilia. One of the things he sent me was a tape of unreleased demos from the Soul Syndicate band. He asked that I share it on my website. So here it is…Enjoy!


Soul Syndicate, originally called the Rhythm Raiders, were one of the top reggae session bands in Jamaica from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s.

In the first half of the 1970s the band from the Greenwich Farm area of Kingston recorded for producers such as Keith Hudson, Winston Holness (under the pseudonym The Observers), Duke Reid and others on some of the most popular and influential recordings of the era. Core members of the band are guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith, drummer Carlton “Santa” Davis, bassist and founder of Soul Syndicate George “Fully” Fullwood, rhythm guitarist Tony Chin and keyboard player Bernard “Touter” Harvey, later with Keith Sterling on keyboards. Other members at various times included drummer Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace, guitarist Cleon Douglas, and keyboard players Earl Lindo and Tyrone Downie. Freddie McGregor was at one time the band’s featured vocalist. The nucleus of the band also recorded under the name The Aggrovators for Bunny Lee. As well as playing on countless releases backing some of Jamaica’s top vocalists, including Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs, they also released several albums credited to the band. Harvey later became a member of The Wailers Band.

According to guitarist Tony Chin, “Sun is Shining” was the first song members of the band recorded with Bob Marley. Soul Syndicate is also credited with recording the original versions of the Wailers’ classic tunes “Small Axe” and “Mr. Brown.”

The Soul Syndicate’s “Stalag 17” and “Taxi” bass lines, are among many bass lines created by George “Fully” Fullwood, an instrumental, featuring Ansell Collins on organ who was a resident studio musician for Soul Syndicate in the 1970s, was much-versioned, providing the basis for hits over the two decades that followed for Big Youth, Horace Andy, Augustus Pablo, Frankie Paul, General Echo, Tenor Saw and others. Soul Syndicate is accredited with performing on singles featuring many vocalists and many of Jamaica’s most talented and beloved artists.