Hugh Mundell – Message Records – 1978

Lets All Unite / My Mind / Africa Must Be Free By 1983 / Why Do Black Men Fuss And Fight

Book Of  Life / Run Revolution A Come / Day Of Judgement / Jah Will Provide / Ital Sip

Uploaded today is the debut LP by the late Hugh Mundell. The LP is a compilation of previous singles that were released in Jamaica between 1976 and 1978. Every track is a killer. The original tracks were recorded with musicians picked by Augustus Pablo at Black Ark, Joe Gibbs, Harry J and Channel One studios  and was released on Augustus Pablo’s Message record label in 1978. Five years later in 1983 at the age of twenty one, Hugh Mundell was shot in Kingston and died.

Text below, which is beautifully written and snatched off the site. Thanks in advance to the guy who runs that blog.

Augustus Pablo at Channel One studio 1976

I am eight, laid out on the floor and reading my father’s old Warren Spirit comic magazines. My father listens to music; he’s always listening to music. I listen with him while I read. He’s been spinning one record quite a bit lately; a reggae disc called “Africa Must Be Free by 1983”. It’s the first reggae I’ve ever heard and although the sound of the music is terrifically alien and utterly beyond my experience, it still somehow speaks to me. “Africa Must Be Free” becomes an album that I forever after associate with a childhood sense of comfort, security and happiness.

Back in Jamaica, the artist behind that album, a boy barely 21, sits in a car on the streets of Kingston. A figure approaches him from behind, raises a gun and fires; the boy is shot in the neck. Accounts as to the motive vary; some say that the victim had entered the neighborhood seeking revenge for an earlier burglary; there are those who claim that the boy had sold his assailant a faulty refrigerator and was shot in retaliation for the scam; some argue that it was a dispute over a woman. Whatever the cause, Hugh Mundell, a prodigy who had at the age of twenty created five albums and three children, lay dead.

Hugh Mundell was born in 1962 in East Kingston, to a solidly middle class family; his father was a well-known lawyer. We can only surmise that Alvine Mundell had ample opportunity to discuss politics, law and the sad inequalities that men faced in court with his son; we can only imagine what effect these stories might have had on young Hugh. What we know is that Alvine’s job forced him to often move his entire family; one chance landing placed the Mundells nearby to well-known Reggae performer and producer, Boris Gardner. Gardner recognized the young man’s potential and schools Hugh and a few of Hugh’s friends to reggae music and the nature of the Rasta faith. Eventually, Hugh and his friends access Gardner’s studio space and, at the age of thirteen, Mundell records his first single, “Where Is Natty Dread?” with Joe Gibbs.

The song is never released, but the experience is noteworthy as it brings Mundell to the attention of Augustus Pablo, a well-known reggae producer who had a run of considerable successes creating riddims for such artists as Dillinger, the Heptones and Delroy Williams. Pablo takes the young man under his wing and enlists him as a DJ for his sound system, where Mundell works under the DJ AKA Jah Levi.

Hugh Mundell far left with Augustus Pablo and others 1978

Augustus releases a number of singles with Mundell over the next three years; in 1978, these are collected and released, with a few new tracks, as Mundell’s first album, “Africa Must Be Free By 1983.” It is one of the truly great freshman releases of all time; polished and expert beyond any expectation. Mundell’s smooth voice has all the command and control of a man well past his modest years; Pablo’s beautifully understated production elicits a spiritual depth in Hugh’s work. There is an unmistakable political aspect to this remarkable album; beyond the obvious anti-apartheid sentiment inherent in the album’s title cut, tracks like “Day of Judgement” and “Run Revolution a Come” promised an end to the harsh treatment of the underprivileged Jamaican masses.

One could argue a corollary connection with Maya Arulpragasam, if it were not for the fact that MIA has a good decade on Hugh and that Mundell’s preachings were rooted in a deep and almost Zen-like desire for non-violent revolution. The track that most clearly reflects this is “Why Do Black Men Fuss and Fight,” an enduring anti-beef anthem if ever there was one.

 Kingston 1978

Billy Rath’s Street Pirates – 12 Bar Club Denmark Street WC2 – 17/11/11

Sorry for the short notice but one of KYPP’s earliest and most loyal supporters Chris Low  is now sitting in on drums with the legendary ex Heartbreaker’s bassist Billy Rath. Chris will be performing with Billy Raths Street Pirates at the 12 Bar Club down a little alleyway in Denmark Street WC2 TOMORROW night… If this could be supported I am sure the band would appreciate it! So tomorrow night at the 12 Bar Club, Denmark Street, London WC2





Following his sell-out show at the 100 Club, Rock’n’Roll Living Legend BILLY RATH (Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers, Billy Rath’s Broken Hearts, Iggy Pop Group, Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group), Nico (Velvet Underground), Ronnie Spector amongst others – will play an exclusive set of Johnny Thunders classics + some surprises at the 12 Bar, 26 Denmark St, Soho, WC2 *THIS THURSDAY* accompanied by Nuno Viriato (Johnny Throttle, The Jack-Offs) – on Guitar & Chris Low (The Parkinsons, The Apostles, Oi Polloi) – on Drums. PLUS SUPPORT.


Johnny Thunders And The Heartbreakers – Chinese Rocks

Johnny Thunders (vocals/guitar) and Jerry Nolan (drums) had quit the New York Dolls, and that same week Richard Hell (vocals/bass) was forced out of Television. The trio joined forces, and after a few shows added Walter Lure (vocals/guitar), who had played with a group called the Demons.

In 1976, Hell was either pushed out of the Heartbreakers or quit the group, and was replaced by Billy Rath, who, according to legend, was a gigolo. Hell went on to form his own band, The Voidoids.

Arriving for a European tour just as the UK punk scene was building momentum, the Heartbreakers developed a following playing in and around London. The band’s members and image were widely associated with drug use, specifically heroin. The Sex Pistols invited them to open for them on the ill-fated Anarchy Tour. They shortly signed with Track Records. Their debut—and only—studio album, L.A.M.F., featured all the Heartbreakers’ popular live songs. The release of the album put a huge strain on the band, because of anger among some band members over the poor quality of the mix. Several of the members of the band left at this point. The band reformed in 1979 for a few farewell shows at Max’s Kansas City with drummer Ty Stix sitting in for Nolan and resulting in the album Live at Max’s Kansas City ’79. The Heartbreakers’ song, “London Boys”, is a swipe at the Sex Pistols, in response to the Pistols’ “New York”, a put-down of the New York Dolls.

After their break up, the band re-formed occasionally to play at New York clubs. Live shows often consisted of songs performed with the New York Dolls or taken from Thunders’ solo career. They were called Rent Parties because they’d do it to make money. Rent Party is also the title of an album released by Lure’s band the Waldos. Billy had left sometime around 1985 or 86 and was replaced by Tony Coiro. Johnny Thunders died in 1991.

The last time the Heartbreakers played was at Johnny Thunders Memorial Concert with Walter Lure, Jerry Nolan, Tony Coiro and Joey Pinter playing in place of Thunders. By then Lure had already formed the Waldos. The line up, which included Lure, Joey Pinter, Tony Coiro, and Jeff West released Rent Party in 1994. Lure subsequently worked on Wall St. but still performs with his current Waldos lineup in NYC. He also travels around the globe playing when his day job allows the time for it. In 2007 Walter Lure teamed up with Belgian punk rocker Dee Jaywalker and went on a short European tour which resulted in a Live album recorded in Berlin and released on Nicotine Records. In 2009 and 2011 he reunited with Joey Pinter from the Waldos Rent Party lineup for 2 mini tours of the West Coast.

Nolan died in 1992. Hell rarely plays music live, concentrating instead on writing and spoken-word performances. Billy Rath currently lives in New Jersey and played with Walter Lure at the Max’s Kansas City Reunion in September 2010.