b. Kentrick Patrick, c.1940, San Fernando, Trinidad, West Indies. As his imperious name suggests, Lord Creator began his career as a calypso singer.
Some time in the mid- to late 50s he arrived in Jamaica, just as the music scene was starting to take off. Lord Creator’s smooth, honeyed tones were not ideal for the raucous jump to R&B soon to emerge from ska, but as a big band crooner in Jamaica, he had no equal. ‘Evening News’ (1959) was his first huge hit, and it was a song to which he returned at several points during his career. The narrative of a barefoot child feeding his siblings by selling newspapers he could not even read, had greater resonance at a time when Jamaica was struggling for its independence. In 1962, his ‘Independent Jamaica’ was the first single on Island Records in the UK, although legend has it that Owen Gray’s ‘Twist Baby’, scheduled as Island 002, reached the shops first. ‘Don’t Stay Out Late’ (1963) was a major Jamaican hit, and made Lord Creator the island’s biggest star at the time. ‘Little Princess’ (1964) helped to maintain his status. He also released a calypso album for the Studio One label. However, he was overtaken by other smooth voices such as Ken Boothe and Bob Andy, both of whom offered more contemporary songs. In 1969, he teamed up with producer Clancy Eccles and recorded the single ‘Kingston Town’, perhaps the finest sentimental reggae record ever released. By this time, Creator was in financial trouble and a week after recording the record, he borrowed $30 from Eccles. A couple of months later, Eccles spotted Creator in a Kingston street and the singer ran off. Eventually, Eccles caught him, and Creator immediately began to make excuses for not paying back the money he owed; Eccles explained that he owed Creator $1, 000 in royalties for ‘Kingston Town’. The record sold thousands of copies in Britain without ever making the charts. During the 70s, Lord Creator’s croon became obsolete in a reggae music obsessed with roots, Rasta and heavy dub. He did record one powerful single in 1977, ‘Life’, a new version of a 1967 single, ‘Such Is Life’. During the 80s rumour had it that Lord Creator had succumbed to a life as a homeless rum-drinker on the streets of Kingston, and eventually Eccles helped to organize enough money for Creator to be returned to his family in Trinidad. In 1989, UB40 covered ‘Kingston Town’, and Clancy Eccles and Creator were recruited to give their seal of approval in the accompanying video. While it seems sadly ironic that he never had the hit he deserved with his own version, at least UB40’s success meant that a royalty cheque would go to the song’s creator.