18 June 1949 |
23 January 1999 (aged 49) |
Prince Lincoln Thompson, known as Sax (18 June 1949 – 23 January 1999), was a Jamaican singer, musician and songwriter with the reggae band the Royal Rasses, and a member of the Rastafari movement. He was born 18 June 1949 in Jonestown, next to Trenchtown, both parts of the slummy shanty town in the poor west side of inner Kingston, Jamaica and died of cancer in London on 23 January 1999, days after being first diagnosed. He was noted for his high falsetto singing voice, very different from his spoken voice.
He began his recording career as a harmony singer along with Cedric Myton of The Congos in 1967 in a band called The Tartans who then split up in 1969. In 1971 he was taken on by Coxsone Dodd, and recorded three songs with him at Studio One called "Daughters of Zion", "True Experience" and "Live up to your name". 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 with "Kingston 11" and "Love the way it should be". In 2010, the song, Humanity (Love the way it should be) was given new life when it was covered by American singer John Legend backed by the Philadelphia band, The Roots and is featured on Legend's album, Wake Up!.
He was only selling a tiny number of records until in 1978 he was signed up by Mo Claridge, who at the time ran Ballistics Records, a London offshoot of United Artists. A single Unconventional people was released as a 12-inch single in March 1979 with the Humanity album following in May. That summer of 79 the Royal Rasses recorded a second Prince Lincoln album, Experience, this time without Cedric Myton. This album contained more than just the traditional drum and bass sound of most reggae. The band renamed themselves the Rasses to avoid confusion with fellow reggae band The Royals to record a further album called Natural Wild in summer 1980. This time the music was made in London. Prince Lincoln's decision to invite English rock musician Joe Jackson was controversial, and the album was a commercial flop.
Thompson returned to Jamaica and re-set up the successful God Sent label with the help of German company Juicy Peeple to produce his fourth album Ride with the Rasses in 1982. This music was recorded at Tuff Gong and Channel One studios. Around this time he and his family moved to Tottenham, London where he opened an Ital shop called The Rasses Fish and Grocery Store. In September 1983 he recorded Rootsman Blues in Addis Ababa studio in London. It was released by Target Records with only three musicians per track, giving the music the intimate quality of chamber music.