Category Archives: Rocksteady

Police & Thieves, pt. 5

Junior Murvin – “Bad Weed” (1976)

Here’s Junior Murvin with another song on the “Police & Thieves” riddim. Listen for Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s trademark mumbles in the background–sounds like a ‘Super Ape’ indeed. I think I might like this even better that Junior’s original “Police & Thieves.” Maybe that is sacrilege.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the version of “Police & Thieves” you probably know best.

Check out other versions of “Police & Thieves.”

Buy Bad Weed

Posted by Glenn


Filed under 1970s, Reggae, Rocksteady

Police & Thieves, pt. 4

Jah Lion – “Soldier & Police War” (1976)

Here’s a dub toast of Junior Murvin’s “Police & Thieves” by Jah Lion. I like how this version emphasizes the weird marimba-type sound in the beginning of the track. Not sure exactly what that is. Here’s what the Lion has to say for himself:

“It’s like when I did the version to ‘Police & Thieves’ called “Soldier & Police War,’ it was an incident happen…That song came very quickly, usually in those days songs came very quick to me. Bongo Herman was in the studio at that time, so we let him do a part like when somebody running, like out of breath. Scratch laugh, and say he running from something, police want him or something. And then I say, ‘A soldierman pass through Jonestown…’ That was me and Bongo Herman together.”

Stay tuned for Police & Thieves, parts 5 and 6 over the next few days!

More versions of “Police & Thieves” on SWR (as well as some other choice reggae tracks)

Buy it here

Posted by Glenn


Filed under 1970s, Dub, Reggae, Rocksteady

Police & Thieves, pt. 3

The Upsetters – “Grumblin’ Dub” (1976)

This is basically a concerto for reggae bass, with hi-hat and weird organ sounds for accompaniment. Please listen with a good set of cans, or a nice big stereo. That bass! This is one of the better dub tracks out there. The choices are inspired: what instruments to fade in and out, when and where the echoey ghosts of the original show up. Nice work, Scratch.

Stay tuned for the rest of “Police & Thieves” weekend!

Dub Along

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 1970s, Dub, Instrumental, Reggae, Rocksteady

Police & Thieves pt. 2

Glen LaCosta – “Magic Touch” (1976)

Saxophonist (I guess; just try Googling this guy) Glen LaCosta adds his magic touch to this dub version of Junior Murvin’s “Police & Thieves” (featured on SWR yesterday, in a weekend-long series). This version ups the treble on the hi-hat, makes the guitar echo a bunch, and takes out some of the deep bass. Very cool: Junior Murvin’s original backup vox, way in the background. In the second half, check out the off-beat saxophone. Stay tuned for at least FOUR more versions of “Police & Thieves.”

Jordy: what do you think you and I start sporting the shades pictured above?

Too bad LaCosta spells his first name incorrectly….

Posted by Glenn


Filed under 1970s, Dub, Instrumental, Reggae, Rocksteady

“All the peacemaker-turn-war-officer/hear what I say”

Junior Murvin – “Police & Thieves” from Police & Thieves (1976)

At Jordy’s behest, I will celebrate my return to regular posting with a veritable cavalcade of cops and robbers. That is, a number of versions of Junior Murvin’s 1976 rocksteady classic “Police & Thieves.”  I hope to post a number of dub versions of the riddim, and top it all off with a not-so-secret cover by the only band that mattered. But, before all that, enjoy the classic Junior Murvin vocal on one of my favorite reggae tunes. Listen to that hi-hat! The weird guitar sound! The super-high singing! I love it.

N.B. I will be using tracks from the superb Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry boxset, Arkology. Here is a bit from the liner notes:

“A guy might be out there with his guitar, chantin’, an’ Scratch is inside smokin’ a spliff, tunin’ in to that guy, who doesn’t even know that Scratch is tunin’ into him. All of a sudden, Scratch jus’ come out an’ say: ‘Come inside here’. He search an’ find a riddim and say: ‘I hear dat, an’ I hear it on dis riddim!’ That’s how we did ‘Police and Thieves’, Junior Murvin.” –Max Romeo

Look for more police, more thieves, tomorrow.

Buy it here

Posted by Glenn


Filed under 1970s, Reggae, Rocksteady

Dore - Feast of the Passover

The Congos – “Feast of the Passover” (1977)

Okay, Jordy, I’ll bite.

Probably a little late to be officially “rock-n-steady,” this track nevertheless rolls with a quick, ska-like vibe. The internet informs me that it appears on one edition of the classic Heart of the Congos (1977), but I found this track on the Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry comp Arkology (1997). And apparently some version of “Feast” is on the new Scratch comp Baffling Smoke Signal. Regardless, this is a great, soulful tune.

Buy Congos here (scroll down to see the Scratch anthology)

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 1970s, Reggae, Rocksteady, Ska

“A wise man keepeth his life.”

Desmond Dekker – “Wise Man” (1967)

Originally released as a single on Beverley Records in Kingston, Jamaica.

Is this gonna be the only ‘rocksteady’ post, Glenn?

Buy Desmond Dekker here

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 1960s, Reggae, Rocksteady, Ska