Murvin Junior Smith

At six o'clock this morning, I got up to get ready to go to work.

The radio told me that whilst I was asleep Junior Murvin had died. It stopped me right in my tracks. When I got to work, my friend coming off a night shift said "have you heard?". I nodded, we bowed our heads and silently walked on.

Junior Murvin possessed one of the finest voices to ever come out of Jamaica ... at the moment, I can only think that Horace Andy could touch him.

The album Police And Thieves is probably what he is most known for by people with only a passing interest. The title track is a commentary on the so-called politics operating in Jamaica (but particularly in Kingston) during the early to late 1970's.

In May 1976, he took himself to Lee Perry's Black Ark studio with new material which included the Police And Thieves lyrics. It speaks directly to the unadulerated politically funded violence that was ubiquitous at the time. An island where the JLP and PNP flooded the poorest areas with huge amounts of guns and ammunition. They created heavily armed warlords to commit unspeakable acts of political violence and many many people were caught in the crossfire. All in the name of democracy!

Mr Smith was in absolutely no doubt that this was sheer criminal activity.

A very brave statement to make in that climate.

He's been a presence in my life for about three decades. His passing has wounded me. Now that I'm back from work, I have the space to think about the man and his words. That's how I'm going to spend the rest of the day ...

Junior Murvin‎ - Police & Thieves

Police and thieves in the streets
Fighting the nation with their guns and ammunition
Police and thieves in the streets
Scaring the nation with their guns and ammunition
From Genesis to Revelation
The next generation will be, hear me
All the crimes committed day by day
No one trying to stop them in any way
All the peacemakers turned war officers
Hear what I say.....

Police and Thieves


blee,  3 December 2013 at 18:47  

The world is at a loss. May Junior rest peacefully.

knobtwiddler,  4 December 2013 at 10:07  

Hi Badgerstump,

very sad news.

An on a more general topic,
thanks x ∞ for this blog. Heard and learned so much by reading it.

Anonymous,  5 December 2013 at 17:29  

roots train is a great song