Blackman's Foundation

Hugh Mundell

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Blackman's Foundation Review

by Nathan Bush

Many reggae fans have long been aware that the tragic death of singer Hugh Mundell at age 21, severed what promised to be a highly successful career. Under the great Augustus Pablo and on his own, Mundell recorded a small, but impressive body of roots material beginning when he was in his early teens. Though the greatest triumph of his five years in music was undoubtedly the 1978 set Africa Must Be Free By 1983, his subsequent releases were nearly as stunning. Shanachie's Blackman's Foundation selects five tracks from Time and Place (1981), adding four cuts from the same period. Mundell's voice is already deeply expressive at this very young age, and his lyrics carry a series of heavyweight reality themes. The rhythms are equally solid and include a handful of Pablo's best-loved Rockers-style creations. "Stop 'Em Jah" (paired with its excellent dub) has the young Rasta delivering a scathing attack upon Babylon over the same track that appeared on the classic King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown LP. Mundell glides, multi-tracked, across the rhythm for "Rastafari's Call," a thick mix of shimmering keyboards, syrupy guitar figures, and creaking accents. The set closes with "One Jah, One Aim, One Destiny" whereby Mundell's themes come to a head in a plea for unity voiced on a tough, reverb-laden mix of Pablo's "Rockers Rock" (aka the Studio One classic "Real Rock"). Along with the sides he engineered for Jacob Miller (gathered on Who Say Jah No Dread), the Mundell catalog contains the finest vocal productions of Pablo's career.

blue highlight denotes track pick