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The Life and Times of Grandpa Parm & Scheme-On

Reggae Review – Fallen Stars

Jah Fire

Jah Fire

Hugh Mundell has long been one of my favorite voices in roots reggae and his music is still beloved by the irie masses. It was his neighbor who introduced him to reggae, and at age thirteen helped Mundell record his first song. At the delicate age of sixteen, he recorded what has become a timeless classic in, “Africa must be free by 1983”, writing the lyrics as well as the music. This album was released in 1978 and became an instant classic earning five stars from Rolling Stone magazine. Unfortunately for all of us who enjoy his music, Hugh Mundell was shot to death in 1983 driving around Kingston, JA with Junior Reid. He was twenty one.

644The album “Jah Fire”, pictured above is produced by Prince Jammy and features Lacksley Castell, a friend and colleague of Mundell who shares a similar voice and singing style. Castell was helped along by his good friend Mundell, and made a name for himself by releasing two amazing solo albums and singing backup for Sugar Minott’s famously-known, “Black Roots” album. Lacksley Castell’s “Morning Glory” tells tales of leaving women, meeting women and being a traveler unbeknownst to his women. His voice is unlike all others (with the exception of Mundell) and of course with a flourishing career ahead of him, he passed away in the prime of his life. He was also twenty one.

2113Jacob “The Killer” Miller is easily one of the most recognizable figures in roots reggae. His voice is literally one of a kind and his stage presence is unlike any reggae star out there. His 1977 album, “Killer Miller” contains many of his well-known anthems and gives his short career tons of validation. Not only does his physical presence require attention, but his lyrics were deep and honest while his energy never ceased. One thing that did cease was Miller’s beating heart as he was killed at age twenty seven in a tragic car accident in 1980. Just before his death, Miller had signed an international record deal and was to tour with Bob Marley before fate took its course. The uncle of Maxi Priest and an icon of roots reggae, Jacob Miller, will never be forgotten.

These gentlemen all died young and left us wondering what could have been. Their gifts to the world through music will forever be cherished and heard. Whether it was a tragic accident or a result of growing up in a dangerous environment, these artists died with dignity and should be respected for that.

-Gramps

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November 14, 2008 - Posted by | Music | , , , , , ,

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