Prince Lincoln and the Royal Rasses

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

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With February acknowledged as Reggae Month, the Jamaica Observer salutes some of the music's unsung heroes in this daily column.

FOR their 2010 tribute album, Wake Up!, John Legend and The Roots covered a number of soul standards by giants like Curtis Mayfield and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.

But there was a reggae nugget among the 12 songs on the set, by a talented yet underrated group.

The song was Humanity (Love The Way it Should Be), done by Prince Lincoln and The Royal Rasses in 1974.

It is a roots classic, with Prince Lincoln Thompson's unique tenor leading the way. He was complemented by a harmony trio that included Cedric Myton, who later became a member of The Congos.

Thompson and Myton had been members of The Tartans, a group that had chart success in the late 1960s with the song Dance All Night.

A past student of Excelsior High School, Thompson was a gifted songwriter. He formed The Rasses in 1973, and the following year the quartet recorded songs at Channel One studio in Kingston with the cream of Jamaica's session musicians.

Humanity, was a call for universal love. Its memorable horn intro was used by Aswad for their song Roots Rocking, while the melody is evident on Freddie McGregor's cover of Still Cool's To Be Poor Is A Crime.

Prince Lincoln Thompson continued to record as head of the Royal Rasses from London, where he moved to in the 1980s. He died there from cancer at age 49, in 1999.

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