Tag Archives: Cornel Campbell

Stellar compilation presents Jimmy Riley at his best

366If you are in a hurry and need to know about Jimmy Riley’s Live It To Know It, five words – get it, it is essential. I you want the story you can continue.

Jimmy Riley – father of acclaimed contemporary reggae singer Tarrus Riley – started his career in the mid-60 as part of rocksteady vocal harmony group The Sensations, an outfit that also included sublime falsetto singer Cornel Campbell. After a while he left that group and formed The Uniques with another renowned falsetto singer – Slim Smith.

After several hit singles with The Uniques, including My Conversation, one of the best rocksteady cuts ever recorded, he went solo and started recording with the likes of Lee Perry, Bunny Lee and Sly & Robbie, with whom he recorded easy-skanking solo hits like Love and Devotion and Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing, a song that topped reggae charts in 1983.

On UK reissue label Pressure Sounds’ 87th release they have focused on Jimmy Riley, but not his most well-known cuts. No, Live It To Know It collects self-produced material recorded approximately between 1975 and 1984. And this is message music. It’s roots music with sparse arrangements and minor chords, and Jimmy Riley sings about immigration, poverty, struggles, equality and justice.

Live It To Know It contains 17 songs and is long overdue. Jimmy Riley is one of many often overlooked Jamaican singers. He has a stellar tenor voice with a bit of grittiness to it. It’s emotive, pleading and heartfelt. He’s a bona-fide soul singer.

This album has everything a great reissue should have – excellent music, discomixes, devastating dub versions, good audio quality, scarce material and vivid liner notes. It collects nothing but the best and it captures Jimmy Riley at his finest.

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Sizzla is born a king in April

artworks-000070786977-85tet7-t500x500On April 27 the controversial and versatile Jamaican deejay Sizzla drops his long-awaited album for Australian producer Jake “Mista Savona” Savona. It’s titled Born a King and collects the already released single I’m Living.

Mista Savona and Sizzla have previously recorded the Middle Eastern-flavored Why Does the World Cry, a tune put out on the excellent compilation Warn the Nation.

Mista Savona is a clever and inspired producer not afraid of trying new ideas or breaking musical boundaries, and Born a King will most certainly be one of the highlights this year.

While waiting for the new Sizzla album Mista Savona and his label Muti Music have outdone themselves with remixing and versioning I’m Living and its ethereal riddim.

On February 26 Muti Music drops I’m Living (The Versions) and I’m Living (The Remixes). Together they collect 17 cuts, including the original mix, which is one of the strongest, but actually not THE strongest. The gold medal goes to Cornel Campbell & Burro Banton and their Pressure. A five minute long masterpiece where Cornel Campbell sings the chorus and Burro Banton gravels in the verses.

Other vocalists featured on the versions album are Prince Alla, Ilements and Pinchers. The electronic remixes are courtesy of 3redeye, B.R.E.E.D, Ed Solo & Stickybuds, Gaudi and Mista Savona himself.

Check Soundcloud below to get the feeling.

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Dreamy and atmospheric on Razoof’s Jahliya Sound

artworks-000058252688-3y5sy2-cropGerman reggae producer Ras Uwe aka Razoof turned his musical skills toward electronica in the early 2000s and together with Solar Moon he managed to create dancefloor heat around the globe. But now he has found his way back to the reggae scene.

On his latest album Jahliya Sound this drummer and DJ, who has previously worked with German superstar Gentleman, blends reggae, dub and deep house creating a dreamy, atmospheric and relaxed sonic landscape.

The album was recorded in Germany, Gambia and Jamaica and collects 16 tracks, of which four are instrumental versions, and features a diverse set of artists, including Cornel Campbell, Lone Ranger, Luciano, Mykal Rose, Lutan Fyah, Jaqee, Don Abi, Sebastian Sturm, Naptali and Pa Bobo Jobarteh.

Jahliya Sound is a smooth and ambient journey with plenty of laid-back vibes. It’s odd though to hear vintage artists like Cornel Campbell and Lone Ranger interact with the ethereal grooves. But it works, and especially well on Mykal Rose’s Birdsong, Lutan Fyah’s You Say This, Naptali’s Keep the Faith and Cornel Campbell’s Free Up Di People.

Definately an unusal and unconvential album.

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Nothing can stop Cornel Campbell and Soothsayers

17708255-origpic-38141eIn classic Sizzla style the Original Gorgon Cornel Campbell drops his second album in just three weeks. The first one was the excellent roots album New Scroll for U.S. production trio Zion I Kings.

The latest set Nothing Can Stop Us, recorded together with UK’s music collective Soothsayers, is a different affair compared to New Scroll. It’s a varied and ethereal set firmly grounded in reggae, but with significant influences from funk, afrobeat, dub and soul.

Soothsayers have utilized the mixing skills courtesy of Yesking, Manasseh, Ticklah and Wrongtom and the sound is warm, hypnotic and swirling with lots of instruments, vocal parts and harmonies trading places in an eclectic, organic and breezy cocktail.

The horns are sublime throughout, especially in Good Times and There’s A Fire, the piano in the uplifting Never Give Up is driving and Cornel Campbell’s high pitched tenor is soothing and a little rougher and raspier compared to his heydays in the 70s.

With an album like this there’s definitely no stopping to what can happen next in the careers of Cornel Campbell and Soothsayers.

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Half-year report 2013 – 15 best albums yet

The first six months of 2013 have offered a number of glorious albums from Jamaican, U.S. and European artists and producers. My 15 favorites are listed below and if you’re curious about how it sounds you’re more than welcome to check the accompanying Spotify playlist here, where a majority of the releases are included. You can also check a review of each album by clicking the link to the set.

The list includes no reissues and is in no particular order.

Captain Sinbad – Reggae Music Will Mad Unu!
This veteran deejay made his musical comeback for Frenchie more than 20 years after his latest release. The LP and the version for digital platforms have different track lists, and I suggest you check out the vinyl version.

Cornel Campbell – New Scroll
The sweet high tenor voice courtesy of Cornel Campbell is set to magnificent music from the highly talented production trio Zion I Kings.

Jahcoustix – Frequency
German singer Jahcoustix wanted to make a more diverse album, but Frequency is his most consistent and cohesive set yet.

Trinity – Eye to Eye
Gruff voiced pioneering deejay Trinity teamed-up with Irie Ites for this retro sounding musical feast.

Malika Madremana – The Race
High school teacher by day and singer by night. Judging by this wonderful album Malika Madremana should focus on her music.

Meta & The Cornerstones – Ancient Power
Bob Marley-sounding Meta Dia moved from his home country Senegal to New York City and was exposed to an array of musical styles. His second album is roots reggae at its finest.

Jah Sun – Rise as One
Best album yet from this reliable U.S. deejay.

Lion D – Bring Back the Vibes
Rising star on the European and global reggae scene that has managed to make a catchy album full of foundation vibes.

Chezidek  The Order of Melchezedik
In 2010 Chezidek teamed-up with Dutch label JahSolidRock for his critically acclaimed album Judgement Time. In April this year the same label dropped Chezidek’s new album The Order of Melchezedik, and needless to say – they put out another powerful set of Rasta anthems.

The Lions – This Generation
13 musicians and four lead singers were involved the making of this soulful album that could be cherished by youths and elders alike.

Black Roots – On the Ground in Dub
One of the best UK reggae bands that reunited last year for the album On the Ground. This is the heavy dub version that contains some inspired mixing.

Etana – Better Tomorrow
Etana’s most cohesive yet and offers a soulful something for everyone.

Protoje – The 8 Year Affair
One of the leaders of the new generation of Jamaican conscious artists. This, his second album, is darker and heavier compared to his debut album The 7 Year Itch.

Jah9 – New Name
Debut album from the conscious Jah9. Her jazzy and breezy voice floats over hard riddims produced by Rory from Stone Love.

Lloyd Brown – New Veteran
Probably one of the most consistent artists – in any genre – in the world. Lloyd Brown usually drops at least one album per year and the quality is remarkably high.

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A wonderful new chapter in the Cornel Campbell story

PrintJamaica has produced countless of gifted, versatile and soulful performers and one of my all time favorite singers is the Original Gorgon aka Cornel Campbell. He started his career in the 60s as a member of The Eternals, but rose to prominence in the 70s when recording a number of major tunes for Bunny Lee.

Now he’s in the hands of acclaimed U.S. production team the Zion I Kings and together they have recorded another golden nugget in the Cornel Campbell catalogue.

New Scroll boasts nine fresh vocal cuts and four dub versions. Most of the tracks carry Zion I Kings’ signature sound – warm with live instrumentation, rich with vibrating arrangements and smooth with a soulful and deep vibe.

Cornel Campbell’s voice still sounds remarkably fresh. His emotive and instantly recognizable high tenor is a bit raspier, but it’s still cool as a pair of shades and soothing like aloe on sunburned skin.

New Scroll contains catchy melodies, memorable hooks and well-thought conscious lyrics and this album is yet another outstanding release from the Zion I Kings and one of the most distinguished, but sometimes overlooked, Jamaican singers.

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