March 13, 2011
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 4/5||Production : 4||Sound quality : 4/5||Sleeve : 3|
Cornell Campbell aka Don Cornell or Don Gorgon (born 23 November 1945, Kingston, Jamaica) is one of reggae's living legends, best known for his trademark falsetto voice. He gained name and fame with his recordings at Studio One in the late 60s and his later work with Bunny Lee in the 70s.
He started singing in his local church choir and at the tender age of eleven, in 1956, he was introduced to trombonist Rico Rodriguez, who took him to Clement Dodd's studio, where he recorded his first single, "My Treasure" and further singles followed. He also recorded for King Edwards backed by The Bell Stars, before moving on to Duke Reid's Treasure Isle camp, where he formed The Sensations along with Jimmy Riley, Buster Riley, and Aaron Davis. When this group split, he emerged as leader of his own new vocal group, The Eternals, with Ken Price and Errol Wisdom, recording perennial favourites such as "(Queen of) The Minstrel"> and "Stars". He was also briefly a member of The Uniques in the 60s, although he may not have contributed to any recordings by the group at that time.
At the beginning of the 70s he began a long association with producer Bunny 'Striker' Lee, initially working in the lovers rock genre, but soon working more roots songs into his repertoire. His self-titled debut album appeared in 1973, but his popularity peaked in the mid 70s with the 'flying hi-hat' sound (played by drummer Santa Davis), leading to major Jamaican hits "Natty Dread In Greenwich Farm", "Dance In Greenwich Farm", "Stars" and "The Gorgan". Throughout the 70s he also recorded with other producers such as Winston Holness ("I Heart Is Clean") and Winston Riley ("Them A Bad"). Entering the 80s he enjoyed a huge hit with "Boxing" for ace producer Joe Gibbs, but with the outburst of digital reggae times changed for him and after the mid 80s new recordings were less common, although he has maintained a strong following.
This recent collection brings together some of Cornell Campbell's finest moments. There is a good balance between roots tunes and lovers orientated songs on the album. The album opens with an updated version of The Heptones' Pretty Looks, but the niceness really starts with his hit Boxing, not the Joe Gibbs version, but a rub-a-dub version from Bunny Lee. Next comes an early 80s cut of The Drifter, followed by a relick of the Studio One classic Please Be True. Stars, arguably his biggest hit, is present here too. He did the original cut for Coxsone Dodd in the 60s. Bunny Lee used the updated riddim for many excellent tunes. The hits Girl Of My Dreams, Natty Dread In Greenwich Farm, Dance In Greenwich Farm and The Gorgan are here too. There's also a nice do-over of Gregory Isaacs' My Only Lover.
Not an essential purchase but a nice collection for vintage fans.