Tuesday, 3 December 2013

RIP Junior Murvin

Yesterday the music world lost a reggae legend in Junior Murvin. Despite having a similarly prolific output as many reggae artists, it was for the Lee Perry-produced ‘Police and Thieves’ for which he is most remembered by many. Released in 1976 and pertaining to the constant battles between badmen and a violent police force in Kingston, it struck a nerve over here too due in part to its coinciding with the Notting Hill Riots and a growing distrust with an institutionally racist police force. It also found popularity within the fledgling punk movement and it was The Clash’s version on their debut album which propelled the song further into the limelight in the UK, Murvin’s breathy falsetto vocals replaced by Joe Strummer’s gruff tones. ‘Cool Out Son’ was more recently given a boost in public consciousness by its inclusion in the game EA Skate 3, but these two tracks are merely the tip of a soulful iceberg. Of particular note are his Curtis Mayfield covers, of which the only easily findable song is probably ‘Rasta Get Ready’ from the Police and Thieves album. Apart from his brief moments of fame Murvin is probably one of the most underrated artists in Jamaican music, so if you ever find yourself in a dingy record store down Portobello Road, or wherever you are, and see any one of his records, don’t be put off if it isn’t his 1976 moment in the sun; give it a chance for some of the best music you’ll ever kick back with some good chronic and lounge to.

RIP 1949-2013

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