Dusting Off... - June 6, 2014

Prince Lincoln & The Royal Rasses’ Harder Na Ras
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

Prince Lincoln & The Royal Rasses’ Harder Na Ras

What is it?

Originally released in 1979, Harder Na Ras is a dub reggae album by ‘Prince’ Lincoln Thompson - sometimes known simply as ‘Sax’ - and his band The Royal Rasses. Harder Na Ras is the dub version of their debut album Experience, released earlier the same year.

Lincoln Thompson was born in Jonestown, a small town near Trenchtown in Jamaica, in 1949. Thompson was a member of the Rastafari movement and began his recording career as a vocalist for various Reggae bands, including The Congos with Cedric Myton and The Tartans, but formed his own group The Royal Rasses in early 1979. He went on to record a further four albums between then and 1984, including Natural Wild, a collaboration with Joe Jackson that caused controversy among some of the more hardcore Rastafarians.

Experience is a fine reggae album in its own right, but Harder Na Ras removes the vocals and adds some typically dubby tape echo effects, lending a different vibe to the album. From the opening track ‘Interstellar Overdub’ (taking its name from the Pink Floyd track ‘Interstellar Overdrive’), Harder Na Ras is a super-chilled dub-reggae album packed with brass, heavy basslines and dripping with reverb that provides the perfect soundtrack to a summer afternoon.

Harder Na Ras
Harder Na Ras Prince Lincoln & The Royal Rasses

Why should I revisit?

Sadly Prince Lincoln died of cancer in 1999 just a few days after being diagnosed with the disease and never really received the kind of recognition he deserved during his lifetime, but his legacy and influence have become more widespread in recent years with many of his albums being reissued. In his later years he relocated to Tottenham in London and opened a shop called The Rasses Fish and Grocery Store, where he lived out the remainder of his days. After his death, one of his songs, ‘Humanity’, was covered by The Roots and John Legend on their collaboration album Wake Up!

Who will enjoy it?

Harder Na Ras is very much one for the reggae fans, but it’s well worth a listen for anyone looking for the perfect soundtrack to to chilled-out weekend in the sun.

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