Ijahman Levi “Jah Heavy Load”/”Jah Is No Secret”

This man’s conversion to Rastafari while in prison in 1972, and his friendship with Bob Marley and others within the 12 Tribes of Israel Movement, eventually led to his association with Chris Blackwell and Island Records for whom he recorded Haile I Hymn in 1978.

Recorded at Joe Gibbs Studio and mixed at Compass Point, the album features some of the very best musicians of the day including Robbie Shakespeare, Stevie Winwood, and a whole cadre of Rastafari musicians, including Ras Michael and Sons of Negus.  Haile I Hymn is a departure from Marley’s radio-friendly reggae.  The entire album, composed of just four songs, is overtly Rastafari.  Just a brilliant set.

After moving with his parents to the United Kingdom in 1963in 1966 and 1969 he released two singles under the name of The Youth. The first one was in 1966 for Polydor 56121 “As Long As There is Love” c/w “Your One and Only Man”, both covers of Jimmy Ruffin and Otis Redding songs. They were cut in a typical mod R&B soul style. His second single was for Deram 226, released 17 January 1969, and featured “Meadow of My Love” c/w “Love Me or Leave Me”. The B side was self-written, being credited to ‘Sutherland’. This single was in a psychedelic summer pop style.

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3 thoughts on “Ijahman Levi “Jah Heavy Load”/”Jah Is No Secret”

  1. Haile I Hymn, one of my top ten favorite albums. 4 songs of pure bliss that are still ahead of their time. It’s really a genius album.

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