Word, Sound And Power
Soul Syndicate Band
January 29, 2008

Label MVD Visual
Format DVD - Region Free
Languages English
Subtitles English & French
Length 60 minutes
Producer/Director Jeff Roth & Jeremiah Stein
No doubt many long-time reggae fans will be delighted with the DVD release of "Word, Sound And Power". The latter had its premiere at the 1980 San Francisco International Film Festival and since then spawned a devout following and a growing reputation among reggae lovers who passed around worn-out VHS dubs. This truly worthwhile documentary about Reggae and the Soul Syndicate Band was filmed in Jamaica in 1979.

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, guitarists Earl "Chinna" Smith and Tony Chin, keyboardist Jamacca, percussionist Goldfinger and sax player Enroy "Tenor" Grant. The Soul Syndicate Band played on several of Dennis Brown's hits for Winston "Niney" Holness, including "Westbound Train" and "Cassandra". As their reputation grew, so did the demand for them to play for other acts including Ken Boothe's "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 & Donna. These tunes are the top of the iceberg as the Soul Syndicate Band not always were credited under their own name. Producers sometimes called them Aggravators, Revolutionaries, Joe Gibbs & The Professionals, Upsetters, Derek & The All Stars and Harry J All Stars on their recordings, because they didn't want to give them royalties.

Besides images of the Soul Syndicate Band playing in the open air in a Kingston yard -- with noteworthy guest appearances by Tony Tuff (who opens the DVD with the appropriate "Jah Jah Music") and Earl Zero (rounding off with a wicked rendition of "None Shall Escape The Judgement") -- there are interview sessions with the individual members with the emphasis on Earl "Chinna" Smith (four chapters) by Dallas Rogers, acoustic performances by Chinna, Earl Zero and Jah Minstrils, and a nice item about the Soul Syndicate fan club dancers.

Of interest are the interview parts with Chinna from which one can learn alot about the Jamaican culture of reggae music and Rastafarianism. And, of course, let's not forget the musical parts which are all very entertaining and feature some special moments like for example the part where Santa, Fully and Tony Chin treat us to an acoustic version of "Harvest Uptown".

In all, this an essential DVD for any reggae fan, a must have... so ignore at your peril!!

The DVD features Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround.