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Prince Lincoln

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Biography

b. Lincoln Thompson, d. 14 January 1999, London, England. Singer, songwriter and arranger Lincoln Thompson’s career began at Studio One, where he made three singles in the early 70s that failed to make any impact, but established his name with the committed following for ‘roots’ music. He had been involved in the music business in the 60s as a member of the Tartans, and their ‘Dance All Night’ on Merritone Records was a big rocksteady hit, but they disbanded soon after this early taste of success. ‘Live Up To Your Name’, ‘True Experience’ and ‘Daughters Of Zion’ are still sought-after records, and immediately sell out every time Coxsone Dodd re-presses them. Prince Lincoln left Studio One to establish his own label, God Sent, and released three more singles - this time as the Royal Rasses (Royal Princes) - that were effectively solo efforts with harmonies provided by an assortment of back-up singers, including Cedric Myton (Congos), Keith Peterkin and Studio One stalwart Jennifer Lara. ‘Love The Way It Should Be’, ‘Kingston 11’ - a musical tour of the ghetto - and ‘Old Time Friend’ were all good sellers both in Jamaica and the UK, and attracted the attention of Ballistic Records who signed them and heavily promoted their debut, Humanity. The album featured the three hit singles and songs of similar calibre, including ‘San Salvador’, a hugely in-demand dub plate popularized on Lloyd Coxsone’s London-based sound system. The set was issued in a full colour (and very expensive) sleeve with lyric sheet and backed up with a lengthy European tour in 1979. The band was poised on the brink of international stardom and Prince Lincoln’s carefully crafted, thoughtful songs and soaring vocals were exactly right for the time. Sadly, it all went wrong. Although the Royal Rasses were making music that Lincoln defined as ‘inter-reg’ or crossover music, their follow-up album, Experience, failed to scale the heights that Humanity had reached and was not particularly popular with either the reggae audience or the pop audience at which it was aimed. The third album release, a very brave step and one that brought Lincoln much critical acclaim, but failed to sell in any quantity, was a collaboration with English singer Joe Jackson. The cost of these admirable ventures was borne by Ballistic Records, who went out of business in the process, and Thompson returned to Jamaica in 1981. There was nothing from Prince Lincoln for the rest of the decade but the early 90s saw a handful of interesting UK releases on God Sent.

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