Hugh Mundell – Jah Will Provide

8th July 2024 · 1970s, 1978, Music, Reggae

Hugh Mundell could have been a contender. He was once heralded as the rising star of roots reggae – as a singer and DJ (Jah Levi) – before he was shot dead at the age of 21 – after an argument over a fridge.

That was in 1983 and Mundell had been destined for superstardom in the view of his producer, the late great Augustus Pablo, who created Ital Slip, the nice dub version here.

Born in 1962 in Kingston, Jamaica, Mundell was barely into his teens when he made his first recording – the never-released Where Is Natty Dread – for legendary producer Joe Gibbs,

After that false start, his career began when his precocious talent impressed Augustus Pablo, who enlisted his services as a DJ alongside Jah Bull on his Rockers sound system.

Pablo produced a run of singles for Mundell starting in 1975 when he made his name with the Rastafarian anthem Africa Must Be Free By 1983, predicting emancipation for the continent.

Ironically, and tragically, that would be the year in which his own life was brought to an end, shot dead as he was sitting in his car.

Mundell’s other releases with Pablo included My Mind, Don’t Stay Away Too Long, Let’s All Unite and Book Of Life, That Little Short Man, Feeling Alright Girl, Jah Says The Time Has Come, One Jah One Aim And Destiny and Great Tribulation – as well as some 12-inch releases as a toaster in his DJ guise as Jah Levi, such as Zion A Fe Lion and False Rumour.

In 1979 Mundell tried his hand at self-production on Stop Them Jah and Blackman’s Foundation, as well as producing the teenage ‘Little’ Junior Reid on his debut Speak The Truth, which emerged on Pablo’s Rockers label in Jamaica.

Another excellent song, Rastafari’s Call appeared on Mundell’s own Muni Music label, while Can’t Pop No Style (a play on the words of Althea and Donna’s Uptown Top Ranking) surfaced in 1981 on Greensleeves, coupled with Junior Reid’s Know Myself.

After a co-produced album with Pablo later that year, collecting many tracks previously released as singles, he broke with Pablo and worked with Prince Jammy and Henry ‘Junjo’ Lawes.