Junior Murvin at the Black Ark
The Ultimate Guide to Great Reggae - The complete story of Reggae told through its greatest songs, famous and forgotten - Michael Garnice
Michael Garnice [+]
Singer Murvin Junior Smith was born in 1949 in Swift River, Portland Parish. (He should not be confused with the similarly named guitarist with Bob Marley & The Wailers, Junior Marvin.) A month after he was born, his family moved to Port Antonio, where he grew up. As a child, Smith showed a proficiency for singing popular ballads, a talent he shared with his father, who died when Murvin was a baby. When he was in his teens, the Smiths moved to Montego Bay, where Murvin began to sing in stage shows. At this time he was influenced by soul singers, especially the falsetto singing of Curtis Mayfield that captivated so many on the island. Murvin then moved to Kingston to live with his aunt in Trench Town, where he got to know the many reggae stars who lived there, such as The Wailers. Impressed by Murvin’s voice, Alton Ellis was especially encouraging, as was Ken Boothe. Eric “Monty” Morris and Derrick Harriott taught him harmony, he learned to play guitar and he adopted a stage name suggested by Morris: Junior Soul.