Junior Murvin

Roots Train

Song Review by

All aboard the "Roots Train" righteous people, and this steaming reggae engine will deliver you to a land where life is grand. Station master Junior Murvin is obviously intent on catching it himself, and can barely contain his glee as it nears the station, while ticket takers George Faith and The Congos' Cedric Myton are equally exuberant at its approach.

If the falsetto singers set the party swinging on the platform, producer Lee Perry set the train rolling across a tough, percolating rhythm, then brought in a clavinet and brass, led by saxophonist Herman Marquis, to capture the blaring sounds of the train's whistle. But its Dillinger's arrival trackside on the extended "discomix" version that really kicks the piece into high gear, with his incendiary toast to dreadness and the joys of ganja.

On the latter, Perry slid the piece effortlessly from the vocal take into the toasted dub, further electrifying the number by sharply clipping Murvin's vocals, and phasing and reverbing the harmonies. The result was a stellar single and a 1977 sound system favorite.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Police & Thieves 1977 Mango 3:42
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Lee "Scratch" Perry 2004 Island 3:43
Roots Train: Island 50 Reggae
Various Artists
Island / Universal Music 3:44