Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Leee John Spearheads New Anti-Gun & Knife Crime Campaign

Since first exploding onto the world music charts during the 1980s and selling over an incredible 30 million records thanks to an impressive run of hits such as ‘Body Talk’, ‘Just An Illusion’,‘Flashback’, ‘Music & Lights’ and ‘Changes’, the multi-award-winning British soul group’s lead vocalist/songwriter Leee John has enjoyed throughout the years a prolific career as a solo artist, collaborator, songwriter, producer and, more recently, a filmmaker.

Following his success in 2017 by scoring and incredible 2 x Number # 1 songs in the UK Soul Charts with ‘Do It Right Now’ and “Make Your Mind Up/Fantasia” from he acclaimed new album ‘Retropia’ we unveil the third single release “Police & Thieves” featuring the unmistakable voice from iconic British Soul Legend Leee John with a personnel rendition and homage to the classic and unforgettable anthem “Police & Thieves” originally recorded way back in 1977 by Junior Murvin/Lee Scratch Perry with its poignant message eerily, echoing across to today’s political and social landscape over 40 years on.

Produced by British Reggae maestro legend Dennis Bovell the originator of Lover’s Rock and producer of big hits such as Silly Games (Janet Kay)(Alpha Blondy) and after Tonight with his band (Matumbi) and more recently contributed to the huge success of (Joss Stones) initial reggae offering Water For Your Soul works with Leee and together form and incredible partnership in delivering a magical unique interpretation of the quintessential creativity that is “Police & Thieves”.

The recording process and reasons behind for “Police & Thieves” – LEEE JOHN: “Recollecting when I was growing up in north London in the mid-nineteen seventies (1970’s) it was a time of growth, a time for those who were ignorant, it was a time of rebellion, a time when people wanted equal opportunity especially people of colour. Following the Brixton riots came the sus laws where the youths were consistently stopped by the police on the streets for no other reason except for being for who they were, people of colour. I became one of them and would gig down in a pub called The George Canning Pub in Brixton with Reggae, soul steel band outfit called the Sun Valley serenaders. We had crowd of people of all colours and creed joined together by the music we played and it was of the most memorable highlights of my life in performing there in the early phase of my music career. Walking to Brixton Station and going on the Victoria line station the back to Finsbury Park where I lived with my family still buzzing from the vibe I would have my Panasonic cassette machine playing with me singing at the top of my voice still vibing off my performance from the George Canning Pub earlier to songs such as “Police & Thieves” sung by Junior Murvin (co-wrote by famed reggae Producer Lee (Scratch) Perry and Jr Murvin and other tunes we loved and performed in our show, I would get off the train at Finsbury Park always late to catch the bus to the top of couch end so I would walk down the main street of Stroud green road, filled with a happy musical flavour still in my soul and not a care in the world. There upon all of a sudden a big black van filled with Police pulled up alongside me and proceeded to get out the car to stop me and ask my name and address (though having said I was born here made no difference) they would check me over, turn out my pockets and shoes and ask what was in my bag. After a long period of questioning, my nervous young scared self-continued t stroll home and behind me in the back van following was the Black Mariah( As we called them) checking to see if my story was true were I lived. As soon as I arrived at the main entrance of our council estate Blythye Mansions I would race up the stairs to our apartment and looking out from the window in the distance I could see them drive away satisfied on the lookout for other victims to torment. At the time my mother was a police liaison officer and when the kids like myself got into trouble or were arrested she would head down to Hornsey Road Police station to help out the youngsters out at a time when nobody trusted the Police. Eventually after being stopped many many times by the Police they began to know my face to the point where they would meet me at the station after my gig and then drop me home, it become so norm al for me you began to accept it but in my heart it hurt and deep down It burned and I knew it was wrong.

Times have moved on and with that I have had the true pleasure of recording this same classic song ”Police & Thieves” for myself, in reflection whilst somethings have moved forward other seem to be in regression with many people in the world fighting and dying in the name of peace liberty and opportunity. We are now the community we are now the Police, the thieves are the ones we will allow to take control and mislead us, We have to educate our young, about history about unity, about our early struggle, about our survival, I have been lucky to embrace the world with music to change and to reach out and embrace people through the power of words/lyrics rhythm and melody to show them from my roots my tree has grown and branched out into the world wider, to carry the message that we all can fight and breakthrough in our own way. We are the leaders of our own Army, we have all our inner strength, and we can educate each other to be stronger, wiser in order to let every moment count. The young are the leaders of tomorrow, let us show them through our own hardship and struggle with the tools to survive and not through crime, vengeance or negative impressions, lets create stronger platforms of leadership so we can all as people can live for today, tomorrow and for our children and their children for the future”.

Leee John is a patron of the UK’s Voyage Youth Project and for further information see link here: http://voyageyouth.com/

Undoubtedly Leee’s voice has never sounded better, his soaring rich falsetto remains instantly recognisable as one of Britain’s much loved charismatic musicians, upon listening to “Police & Thieves” your mind immediately transports you to that hot humid summer long August Bank Holiday weekend smiling and dancing on the streets to this prefect seductive reggae groove.

Police & Thieves taken from the acclaimed album “Retropia”.