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Sugar Black

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b. Patrick Hall, c.1970, Westmoreland, Jamaica, West Indies. Hall moved to Kingston with his family when he was three years old and was educated in the capital. His musical tuition was gleaned through working with sound systems including Black Star and Destiny Outernational. Encouraged by his success on the sound system circuit he entered and won a Tastees Talent competition, and recorded a session with Mikey Bennett. Hall’s break came with Donovan Germain at Penthouse where he composed for Garnett Silk. While with Germain, Hall found himself in competition with artists such as Sanchez, Wayne Wonder and Tony Rebel. Rebel acknowledged Hall’s dilemma and invited him to join him in his solo project away from Penthouse and suggested that the singer join forces with Norbert Clarke. An initial recording surfaced in 1997 that also featured Frankie Paul. The double a-side, ‘I Really Think Of You’/‘Table Will Turn’ was released with Clarke performing under his own name alongside Hall as Sugar Black. Prior to their connection both Clarke and Hall had recorded for Ghetto Youths United, releasing ‘Red Light’ and ‘Give Love Tonight’ respectively. In 1998, the combination of Clarke, performing as Lehbanchuleh, and Sugar Black led to a series of hits initially with Rebel’s Flames project. The pair also recorded with producers Richard ‘Bello’ Bell, Buju Banton and Patrick Roberts. Hits included, ‘I’m Yours’, ‘Start The War’, ‘No Division’, ‘You Are So Beautiful’, ‘Jordan River’, ‘Precious Souls’, ‘Never Get Weary’ and ‘Ethiopia Here I Come’. The duo also found success covering Bob Marley’s ‘Easy Skanking’ and Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’. With the Flames crew, Clarke and Sugar Black toured extensively in 1999. Sugar Black’s partnership with both Clarke and the Flames crew was beginning to wane by the close of the 90s and he embarked on various solo projects in the UK and USA. A dub plate of Sugar Black and UK-based Sandeeno called ‘How Many More’ was met with critical acclaim.

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