WTM #1032: Creator Has Missed the Plan

copie-de-foto_sifichi_archi_0295wReck thiS meSS ~ Radio Patapoe 88.3
Amsterdam ~ Ethno-Illogical Psycho-Radiographies
PTP: 88.3FM
6 October 2008 // 17.00-19.00
Peace & happiness for every man
• Leon Thomas, Creator
Demagog rules mean: war
“Sattya bwa” no more war
“Sattya bwa” means peace
No more demagog rules, man
• Prince Far I, No More War 
* photo by Foto Sifichi
Hum -Alla-Hum-Alla-Hum-Alla > Leon Thomas vs Pharoah Sanders [1]
Umbo Weti > Leon Thomas [2]
Wisdom > Prince Far I [3]
Damn Nam (Ain’t Going to Vietnam > Leon Thomas [2]
Shake Rattle & Roll > Leon Thomas [4]
Uncle Joe / Brother Joe > Prince Far I & Gregory Isaacs [5]
Quanté Jubila > Prince Far I [6]
Creator Has a Master Plan > Leon Thomas [1]
Creator Has a Master Plan > Leon Thomas & Louis Armstrong [7]
Creator Has a Master Plan > Brooklyn Funk Essentials [8]
Water the Garden > Prince Far I [6]
Creator Has a Master Plan > Krokodil [9]
Creator Has a Master Plan > Leon Thomas [10]
Found > Prince Far I [11]
Malcolm’s Gone > Leon Thomas [10]
No More War > Prince Far I [12]
No More War Dub > Prince Far I [12]
Echoes > Leon Thomas [10]
Wish I Have A Wing > Prince Far I [13]
Creator Has a Master Plan > Leon Thomas & Louis Armstrong [7]
Little Sunflower > The Louis Hayes Group with Leon Thomas [14]
[1] The Best of Pharoah Sanders, Impulse vinyl, 1972. Great jazz record, one of my first adventures/purchases into jazz. I was 16.
[2] Leon Thomas in Berlin, BMG/Bluebird, 2002.
[3] Clinch Records single.
[4] The Leon Thomas Blues Band, Sony/Portrait 1988. Produced by Bob Thiel.
[5] 12-inch single, Virgin Front Line, 1979.
[6] Adrian Sherwood Presents The Master Recordings, On-U, 2002.
[7] Louis Armstrong and His Friends, RCA Victor Europe, 2002 [1970].
[8] Cool And Steady And Easy, Dorado, 1994.
[9] The Psychedelic tapes [1970-1972], Second Battle, 2005. Krokodil was a Swiss band that combined progressive and psychedelic  rock with blues most famously on their album “An Invisible World Revealed.” Includes this intriguing version of “Pharoah Sanders “The Creator Has a Mater Plan.”
[10] Spirits Known & Unknown, BMG/Bluebird, 2002.
[11] Dub / Original Bass Culture, Metro, 2001.
[12] Dubwise, Frontline/Virgin, 2004.
[13] Blackman Land, Frontline, 1990.
[14] Variety is the Spice, Gryphon/Lewis, 1979. Great lost soul stuff. Leon sings two ballads, including lyrics he wrote for Freddie Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower”. From the liner notes: “By reason of habit and ignorance, Leon Thomas’… original instrument (the human voice) and by virtue of its natural grace is one of the finest you’ll hear. …To hear him use it flat out is startling.” “Little Sunflower” also appears on on Anthology, Passion Jazz, 1990.
I have been listening to “Creator” since 1974 and I’m an atheist but somehow relate to him and his message beyond any dogma. I feel the same about the Mennonites and Amish who live in my mom’s area of Lancaster, PA. They are frequently harassed and criticized for their lifestyle regardless of the fact that the straights the normals profit immensely from their presence as a tourist attraction and benefit from their presence as a small counter-friction to insane consumerism and hyperbolic spending, polluting and mindless expansion…
Creator was one of my first jazz albums. Memphis Underground by Herbie Mann was THE first. I also got lost in the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report. And I never noticed that there was yodeling in LT’s voice until some 20 years later. Most people have a similar audio wallpaper experience with songs like “5 O’Clock World” by the Tokens or “Lion Sleeps Tonight” when it comes to “hearing” the yodeling.
The combined magical talents of Thomas, as a social activist voice plus his abstract and anthropological excursions via his voice, through which he claimed the Pygmies, his ancestors, spoke and the fact that he has been largely forgotten even by jazz aficionados and appears only as a footnote in most jazz compendiums and encyclopedias not even rating his own entry in most. Add to that the fact that he died fairly obscurely in a dingy NYC hospital not known for its hygiene or its ambience makes you suspicious of culture and those who legislate who must leave and who can stay. In my world, having seen the ruthless way that consumers/fans treat opening acts, acts often carefully chosen by the headlining band, like dirt, with total disrespect [until, of course, some of them become headliners themselves]. I remember this very clearly when I saw the Clash and with all earnestness came to hear the opening acts because I knew the Clash picked people they respected. So I saw Lee Dorsey, Bo Diddley and the Slits all open for the Clash back in 1978-1981 and I remember Joe Strumer coming out to lecture the audience after Lee Dorsey was booed and shown no respect. He said that if people did not listen to Lee Dorsey the Clash would not play.
So much for the customer always being right. This with stories over the years of mass stampedes of hysterical customers awaiting the official opening of Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving in America does not breed confidence in the wisdom of the average person either. People waiting in line for 6 hours to be among the first into a Walmart and then stampeding the place and thereby killing a Walmart employee as was the case this year on Long Island, NY – it happens more than once very year – it makes you wonder what we are all busy with…It’s not called Black Friday for nothing. In that same Walmart where an employee was trampled to death a pregnant woman was crushed and severely injured. While outside San Francisco, two people were killed in a shooting inside a Toys “R” Us stemming from an argument between two groups of shoppers.
Michael Williams, aka Prince Far I, was shot to death by gunmen who burst into his Kingston home on 15 September 1983. He was only 39. His wife was also wounded. He had that distinctive gruff deep barrel vibrato, that voice of peace and reason, of poetry beyond fabrication and that dub groove. He was also known as King Cry Cry and I first became aware of his voice on various On-U records where his voice is oten and amply sampled as if he was still alive. This smattering style of sampling is a more moving and effective memorial than any grave stone could ever be.
His murder may have been politically motivated [although turf battles like the kind that also felled Mikey Smith and others cannot be ruled out either] because of his outspoken support in Jamaican elections for the People’s National Party, in songs such as ‘Heavy Manners’ on a single with producer Joe Gibbs. Hits like ‘Deck Of Cards’ and ‘Tribute To Michael Holding’ followed. He recorded for Trojan but also had his own Cry Tough label. His most fruitful and interesting dub work happened in the UK working with producer Adrian Sherwood. The ‘Cry Tough Dub Encouter’ LPs are classics. He is truly one of those voices that just sits inside you and continues to reverberate beyond the meaning of mere lyrics.


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