Junior Murvin to perform classic Police and Thieves album on summer 2012 UK tour

Posted: 25th May 2012
Legendary reggae star also playing festivals and Jamaica 50th concert, tickets on sale now
Lee Scratch Perry

Picture the (hot) scene - it's 1976, it's the hottest summer on record (at that time), there's a drought, you could suffer burns if you sat on the sand, plus there was urban decay, oppression of the classes, the masses and minorities and people are queuing at standpipes to draw water. There was probably a strike on as well. Hang on, that all sounds too familiar, doesn't it?

Things didn't improve much in 1977 until Punk exploded and the nation's youth, rightly or wrongly, became somewhat more vocal and discontented. Basically, ordinary kids from hard and soft backgrounds donned 'scary' clothes and worshipped the Sex Pistols and The Clash, sneering and spitting. It wasn't pretty but it was, by all intents and purposes, effective and exciting. Meanwhile, in suburban multicultural tenement sprawls, reggae, dub and ska had already gained a firm foothold on Britain's West Indian community and by 1977, the two genres formed an unlikely alliance - punks and rastas became successful and peaceful allies.

'Police and Thieves', a lilting hotbed of social commentary, falsetto vocals and the grooviest Lee Perry production this side of Kingston Town, became something of a cultural osmosis between the two social factions. It was originally issued as a single in 1976, ignored, re-released a little while later, before being expanded into the classic 1977 album of the same name. The Clash covered 'Police and Thieves' within the year, mixing brash attitude with blessed-out skanking and creating a unique fusion. Junior Murvin, meanwhile, had to wait until 1980 for his song to crossover and, afterwards, never had another hit single in the UK. A shame. In the '90s, the song had a revival of sorts after being included in Guy Ritchie's 'awright-geeza' drug-comedy, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

During the summer, Murvin will be performing the entire 'Police and Thieves' album at a few headline shows, as well as a handful of festival shows. Headliners include Leeds on 19th July, Manchester (20th) and Brighton (28th) and tickets cost £12.50-£17.50 - well worth it, it's a cracking album that also includes killer cuts such as 'Roots Train' and 'I Was Appointed'.

In addition, Junior will be appearing at July's Vintage Festival 2012 (click our Vintage Competition button below to win a pair of tickets!), Hitchin's Rhythms of the World Festival 2012 and the huge Jamaica 50th celebrations at the IndigO2 on 25th July, alongside Lee Scratch Perry and Mad Professor - that show costs from £25.

Paul Pledger