b. Albert Valentine Chin, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Chin began his musical career playing drums and the bugle as a member of various youth groups. As lead guitarist he later joined forces with bass player George ‘Fully’ Fullwood in the Rhythm Raiders, who evolved into the Soul Syndicate. The Soul Syndicate proved a highly popular session band, also featuring the talents of Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith, Bernard ‘Touter’ Harvey, and Carlton ‘Santa’ Davis later replaced by Keith Sterling. The group played on sessions for Winston ‘Niney’ Holness, Keith Hudson and Bunny Lee, who named them the Aggrovators. The celebrated ‘Observer Station’ featured Chin’s characteristic bottleneck guitar playing. The band also played live support to a number of Jamaica’s finest lead vocalists, including Freddie McGregor, Dennis Brown, Cynthia Richards and Earl Zero. During the 70s the group supported U-Roy, the Mighty Diamonds and Big Youth on the international circuit before being enrolled to support Peter Tosh, replacing Sly And Robbie in the second manifestation of Word Sound And Power. Following Tosh’s untimely death, the group performed at a tribute concert where they formed an allegiance with the deceased’s son, Andrew Tosh. By the early 90s the group had retired from the business, and Chin remained in Florida, where he was approached to join the multicultural band Big Mountain, following a brief spell with the Reggae All Stars. The band have the distinction of being the pre-eminent US reggae band, having crossed over into the pop chart with a version of ‘Baby, I Love Your Way’. In addition to playing rhythm guitar in the group, Chin also became involved in songwriting and had an opportunity to sing vocals.
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