Detail from a woodblock print titled Hamamachi Park in the Spring Snow by Koizumi Kishio, July 1931
The Sons of the Kingdom were part of the "Black Hebrews" movement of the '70s, in which African Americans traveled to Israel (often by way of Liberia) from Detroit and Chicago to establish a new Zion. The center of the movement, Ben Carter, was a steel worker and theologian who encouraged many to make the exodus, including many musicians and singers. The Sons of the Kingdom formed from a group of American singers who all landed in the same kibbutz in 1974. Carter (who was calling himself Ben Ammi at this time) gave them new names - Mahtsahel, Tsadekiel, Zahkahriel, and Khazriel were soon touring Israel with the other groups of emigrant musicians, including the Soul Messengers, the Tonistics, and the Soul Expressions.
In 1976, the Sons of the Kingdom recorded a 45 single - "Hey There"/"Modernization", showing the two sides of their philosophy. "Hey There" described the idyllic life in a tent community in rural Israel - "Modernization" depicts the life the Sons had escaped from in the US in decidedly less glowing terms. Starting with the sounds of sirens and honking horns, "Modernization" makes its message clear right out of the gate with a jumble of lines about the absurdity of living in a skyscraper. It's like a Tower of Babel, get it? The song goes on to complain about dirty tap water, the space race, preservatives, and doctors with their PhDs. How you get from these problems to the annihilation of mankind that the Sons of the Kingdom prophesy is a little bit of a mystery. But you have to admire their commitment to the message.
If this puzzling brand of Judaic funk appeals to you, go get the Numero Group's Soul Messages from Dimona, where both sides of the Sons of the Kingdom single can be found.
"Modernization" by Sons of the Kingdom