POLICE & THIEVES
* * * /1977 - Island - studio - discs: 1
The genius of Lee "Scratch" Perry created a huge amout of work and among this there is this set from the unique "falsetto" voice of Junior Murvin. At the very beginning Murvin joyned the Max Romeo's Hippy Boys. After singing around the island and in Cuba too, Murvin moved to Kingston to meet Perry. "Police And Thieves" was the first song that he recorded at the Black Ark. The lyrics declare the failure of the contemporary society at the time and had a strong response in the UK among the black Jamaican immigrants and the white punks. The other tracks of the set speak of the same subjects. The songs that are more impressive are: "Tedious" with his message for unity, "False Teachin" with the denounce against the educational lacking system (the best song here), "Lucifer" which talks about the slave trade in a very hard and right way, and the deep Roots of "Workin' In The Cornfield" which again refers to the slavery days. This edition (2003) adds some interesting cuts. The more impressive are: "Bad Weed" is an extended alternate cut of "Police And Thieves" with the texture that you would expect from Perry. It is more dark and better than the original. "Roots Train" features Dillinger. "Memories" was a 12 inch cut based on the Techniques' "Queen Majesty".
MUGGERS IN THE STREET
* * * /1984 - Greensleeves - studio - discs: 1
"Muggers In The Street" is a set produced by Henry "Junjo" Lawes recorded and mixed in 1984 at the legendary Channel One, Maxfield Avenue, Kingston. With the Roots Radics as the expected backing band and Soljie Hamilton engineering, this is a quite strong Dancehall but culture oriented set. Junior Murvin delivers ten songs through his unique "falsetto" voice, calm and highly confident even here with the 80's pre Wayne Smith's "Sleng Teng" atmospheres. The set opens with the deep "Judas And Jesus", followed by "Champagne And Wine". The third song is "Jahova's Children", another strong and engaging track, and maybe one of the best inside this set. Follows "Strikes And Demonstrations" and the title track "Muggers In The Street". The latter is a version of the most famous song cut by Junior: "Police & Thieves" from 1977. The sixth song is "Stop The Crime", followed by "Jamaican Girls" an easy song about the sweet girls of the island. The eighth track is called "Hook Line And Sinker". This is followed by "Think Twice". The set closes with "I'll Follow You". With cultural lyrics as the distinctive Murvin trademark, "Muggers In The Street" belongs to the Dancehall side of Junior's career. Al Campbell and Tony Tuff provide the harmonies on this set that contains a couple of small gems from an artist that seven years before had started his career under the supervision of the great Lee "Scratch" Perry at the Black Ark cutting the legendary "Police & Thieves" set.