Santic & Friends

Even Harder Shade of Black

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Music mad Leonard Chin cut his first and last single as a singer at the dawn of the '70s. The self-produced "I Am Lonely" made no impression, except on Chin himself, who quickly realized that his future lay not with a mic, but with a console. In 1973, the 20-year-old ex-singer coaxed Augustus Pablo into the studio to record the mighty "Pablo in Dub", which launched Chin's Santic label. "Pablo" was a massive hit, the follow-up "Lovers Mood" was nearly as big, and so blown away was Horace Andy by both, that he immediately penned the superb "Children of Israel" and "Problems" respectively over the riddims, with DJs swiftly following his lead. An Even Harder Shade of Black and its companion set Down Santic Way pay tribute to Chin's major contributions to the reggae scene between 1973 and 1975. "Pablo" was an integral part of the Santic empire, and Harder Shade features a number of his best instrumentals for the label, including the scintillating title track "Harder Shade of Black". The set showcases Chin's top riddims, twinning the instrumentals variously with their vocal cuts, DJ versions, and/or dubs. There's nothing on this set less than crucial, the vocal tracks are magnificent, the DJs sizzling, and the instrumentals and dubs absolutely lethal.

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