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Muggers In the Street

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Album Review

In 1984 the under-productive reggae singer Junior Murvin took his honey-toned voice to the studios of Henry "Junjo" Lawes, a producer riding high at the time on the dancehall explosion. Surprisingly, their collaboration, Muggers in the Street, doesn't recast the singer who gave the world "Police and Thieves" and "Roots Train" as a ragga or dancehall king. Instead, it's roots music with special guests Al Campbell and Tony Tuff stopping by for duets. This sounds like a winning proposition but someone forgot to bring the memorable tunes, and Murvin often sounds uncommitted to these mediocre songs. Worst of them all, the title track is a weak sequel to "Police and Thieves" that finds Jamaica descending into a chaos so depressing that there's no poetic way to put it. It's just a bummer and Murvin's falsetto voice is all about communicating frail hope and yearning for joy. For proof, check the satisfying "Think Twice," which when followed by the equally good "I'll Follow You" brings the album to a "too little, too late" close. Seeing as how there's so little Murvin available, Muggers is worth considering for those who have already come under this endearing singer's spell; just don't expect Police & Thieves-sized thrills.


Born: 1949 in Port Antonio, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Best known for his all-time classic "Police and Thieves," Junior Murvin was gifted with a unique, feather-light falsetto that inspired some of Lee "Scratch" Perry's most unearthly productions. Murvin wasn't exactly the most prolific reggae star of the late '70s, yet such is the stature of "Police and Thieves" and its accompanying album of the same name that Murvin would still be a legend even if he'd never recorded another note. And, indeed, comparatively few listeners heard much of his sporadic...
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Muggers In the Street, Junior Murvin
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