R.I.P. Junior Murvin
December 3, 2013 12:26 AM   Subscribe

The gentle genius behind Police And Thieves. So often delivered live by The Clash. "You should hear Junior Murvin singing this song... He can sign it as high as the roof!" A sweet, sweet voice, now quiet.
posted by shoesfullofdust (35 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
I met him in a record shop in Port Antonio around 1986, and he was one of the nicest guys I met in the Jamaican music scene, a solid local hero with no big ego who just sang like an angel. He took me out to lunch at a local food shack - brown fish stew if I remember.

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posted by zaelic at 12:38 AM on December 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


Back in high school, years and years ago, I traveled to the UK and one of my best picks was the 12" version of Murvin's Police & Thieves. It changed our world.

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posted by shoesfullofdust at 12:46 AM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Police And Thieves was some of the very first reggae (along with some Marley tunes) that I ever heard, back in the 70s. Loved his voice. RIP Junior Murvin.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:59 AM on December 3, 2013


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posted by From Bklyn at 1:23 AM on December 3, 2013


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posted by Token Meme at 1:35 AM on December 3, 2013


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posted by quazichimp at 1:38 AM on December 3, 2013


Name checked in Paul Kelly's great How to Make Gravy.
posted by oluckyman at 2:42 AM on December 3, 2013


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I love this song so much. Grew up on The Clash version but when I heard the original... whoa!
posted by Gotanda at 3:18 AM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]




And going at age 67... damn. That's too young.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:48 AM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:12 AM on December 3, 2013


Truly a giant. Police and Thieves and the dubs thereof are masterpieces. Such a great song and such a fabulous voice.
posted by OmieWise at 4:31 AM on December 3, 2013


From Genesis to Revelation

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posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:33 AM on December 3, 2013


Murvin's Allmusic bio has more detail about what made him so great. The 'Police & Thieves" record is one of the best Lee Perry-produced albums of the 70s (Allmusic: "There may be eight or ten perfect reggae albums in existence, and this is certainly one of them") and Murvin has, to me, one of the great soul voices; you can really hear it on 'Rescue Jah Children' starting around 12 minutes into flapjax's link.

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posted by mediareport at 5:01 AM on December 3, 2013


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posted by El Brendano at 5:14 AM on December 3, 2013


Huh, looks like that full album at Youtube replaces the dark gem "Tedious" with the sunnier "Rasta Get Ready," Murvin's cover of Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready," without mentioning the switch.
posted by mediareport at 5:15 AM on December 3, 2013



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posted by GrapeApiary at 5:42 AM on December 3, 2013



posted by Smart Dalek at 5:58 AM on December 3, 2013


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Man, I loved that song when I were a lad.
posted by sneebler at 6:23 AM on December 3, 2013


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posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:39 AM on December 3, 2013


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The sound of happy, happy times at college.
posted by ouke at 7:32 AM on December 3, 2013


This song surprised me the first time I listened to it: I had so far heard lots of Bob Marley as my first taste of reggae, and Junior's languid, almost sing-song voice, was a lovely surprise.

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posted by wenestvedt at 7:36 AM on December 3, 2013


I mentioned the dubs up above, because it's clear to me that Lee Perry had just an immense amount to do with the sound Murvin had on that first record. If you still like Marley, check out The Complete Upsetter Collection for his work with Perry as a producer. Many of the songs are familiar, but the production is different than the later versions.
posted by OmieWise at 7:45 AM on December 3, 2013


Very sorry to hear this news.

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posted by languagehat at 7:53 AM on December 3, 2013


The 'Police & Thieves" record is one of the best Lee Perry-produced albums of the 70s

Between that and The Heart of the Congos, Lee Perry seems to really have a knack for working with falsetto vocals.


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posted by Hoopo at 9:14 AM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by TwoStride at 9:15 AM on December 3, 2013


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posted by jabo at 9:20 AM on December 3, 2013


i always loved this song for the catchy melody and beat and voice and everything else musical but it's also a great social comment. more than a few times i've shaken my head at some decline of western civilization scene and thought: police and thieves.

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posted by ecourbanist at 9:34 AM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by dougzilla at 10:36 AM on December 3, 2013


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posted by stanf at 12:02 PM on December 3, 2013


Such a sweet voice....
posted by Kosmob0t at 12:45 PM on December 3, 2013


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posted by cobra libre at 1:15 PM on December 3, 2013


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posted by pompomtom at 3:00 PM on December 3, 2013




That's a great link, shoesfullofdust, thanks. All of the linked songs are wonderful, and I can't believe I've never heard "Cool Out Son" before now, with his amazing vocal and that damn beautiful trombone solo. The writer's dead-on about "I'm In Love," too - it's a perfectly pure, simple and gorgeously sweet love song.
posted by mediareport at 6:21 AM on December 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


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