Harder Shade Of Black
Pressure Sounds
February 10, 2010

Gregory Isaacs - Harder Shade of Black Track list
  1. Gregory Isaacs - I'll Be Around
  2. Augustus Pablo - One Thousand Swords
  3. Augustus Pablo - Harder Shade Of Black
  4. Dirty Harry & Santic All Stars - Better Shade Of Dub
  5. Roman Stewart - Peace In The Valley
  6. Augustus Pablo - Columbo
  7. Leonard Santic All Stars - Special Branch
  8. Augustus Pablo - Pablo In Dub
  9. Santic All Stars - Hell Boat
  10. Horace Andy - Children Of Israel
  11. Horace Andy - Problems
  12. Augustus Pablo - Lovers Mood
  13. Big Joe - Jah Guide
  14. Santic All Stars - Palace Of Peace
  15. Jah Woosh - Chalice Blaze
  16. King Tubby & Santic All Stars - One Heavy Duba
  17. I Roy - Yamaha Ride
  18. Santic All Stars - Mexican Rocking
  19. Paul Whiteman - I Don't Want To Lose You
  20. Jah Woosh - Shouldn't Say No
  21. King Tubby & The Santic All Stars - Santic Meet King Tubby
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Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4
Up to 1968 producers Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid and Prince Buster dominated the Jamaican musical scene, but that changed in the early reggae period when new producers such as Lynford Anderson, Joe Gibbs, Lee Perry, Clancy Eccles, Winston Riley and Bunny Lee emerged at the beginning of a new phase. They challenged the dominance of the three aforementioned producers and were important in shaping the music that came out between 1968 and 1974.

Although he started his production works in the first half of the 70s, Leonard 'Santic' Chin (born Leonard Anthony Chin, 1953, Kingston, Jamaica), was another young producer who entered the music business and enjoyed notable success. He began working as a singer with Charles Hannah and The Graduates, and recorded a single for Augustus 'Gussie' Clarke. However he let go the singing and became a producer. His early productions between 1973 and 1975 included recordings by Augustus Pablo, who recorded the first single for Leonard Chin's Santic record label (the name derived from the nickname of his friend, drummer Carlton "Santa" Davis, and "Atlantic), "Pablo In Dub", as well as Paul Whiteman, Horace Andy (with whom he had two hits - "Problems" and "Children of Israel"), Roman Stewart, and Gregory Isaacs. Two of the tracks he produced for Pablo were included on the melodica player's debut album.

Leonard Chin's recording sessions generally took place at Randy's studio, with Errol Thompson at the mixing desk, and using Pablo as an arranger or keyboard player. Singles such as Augustus Pablo's "Pablo In Dub" and "Lovers Mood", Horace Andy's "Children Of Israel" and "Problems", I Roy's "Late Hour", and Freddie McKay's "I'm A Free Man", became hits and established Leonard Chin as a producer. In 1974 he stayed in London for three months and put together the "Harder Shade Of Black" compilation album. After having returned to Jamaica to do more recording and to promote Santic Records, he relocated to London, England, in 1975 and became a prominent producer in the lovers rock genre, working with the likes of Carroll Thompson, Trevor Walters, and Donna Rhoden.

The original "Harder Shade Of Black" album was released in the UK on Ital Records, and comprised ten tracks recorded and originally released as 45's in Jamaica. Twenty one years later, in 1995, the compilation was reissued by Pressure Sounds -- actually the very first album to be released by the label -- as "An Even Harder Shade Of Black". The original ten tracks were augmented by a selection of deejay, dub, instrumental and vocal releases from the Santic catalogue.

"An Even Harder Shade Of Black" has proved to be one of the most consistently popular Pressure Sounds releases, though it has been out of print for some time. It has led to the re-releasing of this classic set, which comes totally re-mastered, with added bonus tracks, new artwork and graphics, in the sleeve that was first used on the original Santic release. Besides the fifteen tracks that were already featured on "An Even Harder Shade Of Black", this CD features six bonus tracks including Augustus Pablo's "Columbo" , "Special Branch", "Hell Boat" and "Mexican Rocking" from the Santic All Stars, Jah Woosh's "Shouldn't Say No" and its stunning vocal counteraction "I Don't Want To Lose You" from Paul Whiteman.

From beginning to end there's some wonderful music to enjoy ranging from great vocal tracks such as Gregory Isaacs' "I'll Be Around", Roman Stewart's "Peace In The Valley", Horace Andy's "Problems" and "Children Of Israel" to deejay cuts like Big Joe's "Jah Guide", Jah Woosh's "Chalice Blaze" and I Roy's "Yamaha Ride" to instrumentals such as Augustus Pablo's "Harder Shade Of Black", "Lovers Mood" and "Lovers Mood". Also don't overlook the two tracks that feature King Tubby's dub wizardry, "One Heavy Duba" and the stupendous "Santic Meet King Tubby". Excellent stuff, truly worth purchasing even if you have the 1995 released "An Even Harder Shade Of Black" in your collection!