Thursday, December 05, 2013

RIP Junior Murvin

Via The NME: "Reggae artist Junior Murvin has passed away at the age of 67.

The Jamaica Observer writes that the singer died at the Port Antonio Hospital in Portland earlier this morning (December 2). Best known for the Lee 'Scratch' Perry produced 1976 single 'Police and Thieves', Murvin - real name Murvin Junior Smith - was apparently suffering from advanced stage diabetes at the time of his death.

The 1977 album 'Police and Thieves' was Murvin's LP debut and saw him backed by The Upsetters. He released his last studio album, 'World Cry', in 1995. The Clash covered the song 'Police and Thieves' on their 1977 debut album. Scroll down to hear Murvin's original version, as performed on Top Of The Pops."

The Guardian: Junior Murvin has died but the story of Police and Thieves lives on

"... The tune was the soundtrack to the Notting Hill carnival in the summer it was released, 1976. The perfect groove for a hot and sticky August bank holiday on the streets of west London.

Eerily, the record had been pumping out of sound systems and shebeens in London W10 and W11 postcodes in the days and hours before the community tensions of the time erupted in an all-out battle between (predominantly) black youth and the (predominantly) white police on the streets of Ladbroke Grove. Everywhere you went for the following few
weeks – parties, blues dances and even university student unions – the tune was being rinsed out like it was the pick of the pops.

Every young rebel seemed to have a copy. Joe Strummer and his bandmates included. Even though John Peel had been playing Murvin for months, it was the Clash's version on their debut album that would turn the song into a punk anthem. Strummer told me he preferred Murvin's original. It was one of his favourite records..."

LISTEN: Police and Thieves original,  then Junior Murvin's versioning of the same riddim with Cool Out Son, and another great tune off the album, Roots Train. A classic reggae album you must own. 

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