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Earl "Chinna" Smith


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Smith was born on 6 August 1955, and raised by family friends in the Greenwich Farm area of Kingston.

His father and godfather were both sound system owners, his father’s, Smith’s, operated by Bunny Lee.
Earl tried to emulate them using a toy sound system, leading to his nickname of “Tuner” (after a hi-fi amplifier), which was corrupted to “Chuner” and later “Chinna”.

Smith became interested in guitar as a teenager and made his own from sardine cans and fishing line. He formed a vocal group with his friend Earl Johnson (who later recorded as Earl Zero) and another youth, and they regularly sat in on sessions by the Soul Syndicate band. Smith was taught the basics of guitar by the band’s guitarist Cleon Douglas, and became so adept at playing the band’s repertoire that he was asked to join the band when Douglas emigrated to the United States.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Smith was the guitarist in Bunny Lee’s house band that became known as The Aggrovators.

Smith also played in Lee “Scratch” Perry’s band The Upsetters.

He worked with Bob Marley & the Wailers in 1976, and later worked with Marley’s sons Julian and Ziggy, touring internationally with the latter and playing on his Conscious Party album. He also recorded a few tracks under the pseudonym Earl Flute for producer Keith Hudson.

In 1986 Smith appeared as a member of Ernest Reed’s (Jimmy Cliff) back-up band in the reggae-themed comedy Club Paradise.

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  • rasromeo

    Big up Earl Chinna Smith all di time a very great musician!!!!

    28 Mar 2008 Reply

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