Prince Lincoln. March 1987, London
Do You Remember This Voice
We remember it well because it was constantly heard in our home over the last 30 years. Kambui loved Prince Lincoln, and I theorize that he and Prince Lincoln are now chillin and sharing their chillum with Bob Marley.
So many good memories are linked to these songs that to pick one would be nearly impossible. this one however was heard often and I feel that it represents the joy in my heart when I hear Prince Lincoln Thompson and The Royal Rasses.
Thank You Kambui for introducing me to this angelic voice,
Prince Lincoln Thompson, known as Sax, singer, musician and songwriter with the band the Royal Rasses, was born June 18, 1949 in the west side of Kingston, Jamaica and died of cancer in London on January 23, 1999.
With his soaring falsetto voice and great song writing abilities he was another groomed for crossover success after the death of Bob Marley but that success eluded him and he never achieved the success of many of his better known contemporaries.
He started as a singer in rocksteady group The Tartans with friend and collaborator Cedric Myton and recorded a few tracks for Clement “Coxsone” Dodd. But on becoming a Rastafarian in the mid 70s he formed the vocal group The Royal Rasses, with Myton and a range of other harmony singers including Clinton Hall, Keith Peterkin and Jennifer Lara
In 1974 he recorded the Humanity album with Cedric Myton, Clinton Hall and Keith Peterkin, and set up the God Sent label in order to sell it. He had two hit singles including “Love the way it should be”.
His chance at the big time came when signed to the United Artists offshoot Ballistic Records, in 1979. He recorded the short but classic “Humanity” LP which didn’t achieve commercial success, toured Europe extensively to support the follow up “Experience” but after “Ride With The Rasses” (another classic) was also unsuccessful he was then persuaded to collaborate with Joe Jackson on “Natural Wild”.
This costly commercial failure essentially sent Ballistic bankrupt and Prince Lincoln returned to Jamaica and withdrew from the music business.
In the 80s he returned to London to open The Rasses Fish & Grocery Store in Tottenham and recorded one final album, “21st Century” in 1997.
This is Prince Lincoln at the height of his career – Live in Londons’ Hammersmith.
This is one of the only live recorded videos of Prince Lincoln Thompson
We loved Prince Lincoln Thompson. When he died suddenly in 1999 it was both a shock and many fans like us scrambled to find what music we could from his short recording career. Tonite we ran across an article celebrating the Life and Earthday of Prince Lincoln Thompson; by his band mate Cedric Myton of the Congos. This is a short clipping from the entire piece, which can be found by clicking here. Prince Lincoln like Prince Far I left us far too soon. and since they left we’ve seen very few step into the righteous roots arena that they so carefully crafted.
Check out this short clip and then click through for the full interview – it’s well worth it.
Cedric MytonThe world of reggae has its share of mavericks and rebels. Some of them, namely Keith Hudson, Lee Scratch Perry and Vivian Jackson, enjoy a hallowed status among music fans outside the discipline that equals or surpasses their importance within. But one artist who deserves more recognition from both perspectives is the late “Prince” Lincoln “Saxman” Thompson, leader of the Rasses, whose approach proved ultimately a little too weird for almost everyone and died in relative obscurity in January 1999.
Thompson cut a series of daring yet genuine roots reggae LPs during the 1970 and 80s, notable for their experiments with African and disco rhythms and unremittingly positive humanitarian lyrics. These were delivered in his striking, unique voice that seemed to contain every colour in the musical rainbow. In 1980, while signed to the UK label Ballistic, he released Natural Wild, an ambitious concept album in collaboration with rock musician Joe Jackson. The record was a commercial failure and Lincoln’s career never recovered.
He would continue to create artistically triumphant music; absorbing dancehall influences on his album Roots Man Blues AKA Unite The World. Having gone into semi retirement he opened a food store, and even collaborated with UK rapper Rebel MC, before succumbing to cancer at the age of just 49.
To celebrate his birthday this month, and to commemorate the tenth anniversary of his death, I spoke with his friend and co founder of their first singing group The Tartans, Cedric Myton of the Congos. Thanks are due to Nicolas Maslowski of Makasound records and Ras Lawi for making this interview possible.
How did you first meet Lincoln?
When we started our group the Tartans. It was two of us start first. I myself and Devon Russell. And then we recruit another kid named Linbergh Lewis and Lincoln who was the youngest of all. Lincoln was going to Excelsior School at the time. He was still going to school when we recruit him in the group. This was 1964. End of 1964, beginning 1965. So we did our first single Dance All Night for Federal Records. The four of us – Lincoln Thompson and myself, Linbergh Lewis and Devon Russell.
How did you recruit him?
Well he was a brilliant singer as a young kid coming up. He used to sing and I like his tone of voice. And he was just a kid going to school and I thought “we could take him in”. But it was not my own decision. It was myself and Devon Russell. He [Lincoln] was a kid living up the street from us. He didn’t live far from us. All of us where just living in a circle right there in Cockburn Pen Kingston 11. So we all know each other you know?
What were your impressions of him?
He was a brilliant kid. Bright. He could play football very well. He could play cricket – all sport things. Had lots of girls. He was a nice kid. Nice kid.
How did he get his nickname Sax?
From the socks. He used to wear lots of red socks so we called him Johnny Red Socks! He just loved to wear them socks! (LAUGHS).
So, anyway, then we split with Federal. They didn’t give us enough justice. The single was a hit and they didn’t give us enough attention. We told Federal we like other man dispensation so we left Federal and go to Duke Reid. And we did Far Beyond The Sun and some other songs there.
click through for the full interview - it’s well worth it.