I Shall Not Remove 1975-80 - Cornell Campbell

The Gorgon (Extended)
The Gorgon Speaks (Extended)
The Conquering Gorgon
Lion Of Judah (Extended)
I Shall Not Remove (Extended)
Natty Dread In A Greenwich Town (Extended)
Forward Natty Dread (Extended)
Dance In A Greenwich Farm (Megamix)
part two: The Chalice Blaze - Dr Alimantado
part three: Dancing Roots - King Tubby / Aggrovators
Two Face Rasta (Extended)
Righteous Rastaman (Extended)
Bandulu / Hard Time feat. Ranking Dread
 
Cornell Campbell started his recording career almost at the birth of modern Jamaican music; he first went into Federal Studio during 1959-61, cutting titles for Coxsone Dodd like 'Under The Old Oak Tree', 'Old King Cole' and 'My Treasure'. 'You Got Me Spinning' was issued on Rolando & Powie's label, also in 1961. Over the next few years Cornell recorded a handful of further titles for Dodd, like 'Don't Want Your Loving'. He cut 'Make Hay' for Beverley's in 1964. Around the same time Cornell was singing in a duo with Roy Panton - 'Salvation' and 'Sweetest Girl' were made for veteran soundman Vincent 'King' Edwards - but none of these early efforts enjoyed much success beyond the sound system circuit.

Although he had sung with the Uniques in 1967, by 1968 Cornell had become lead vocalist - as Don Cornell - of the Eternals; the group recorded the sublime 'Let's Start Again' in 1968 for Spanish Town producer Harry A Mudie who also issued 'Christmas Joy' that year. These sides represent Cornell's coming to maturity as a singer; both feature his beautiful falsetto, which now combined a purity of tone that echoed Curtis Mayfield's with a soulful delivery influenced by Sam Cooke.

Shortly after, the group recorded the classic 'Stars' / 'Queen Of The Minstrels' at Studio One. By 1972 Cornell was moving with the producer who would give him the biggest success of his career so far, Edward 'Bunny' Lee aka 'Striker' who saw him partly as a replacement for the great Keith 'Slim' Smith, after that singer's unfortunate death in 1973. Indeed, Cornell voiced a version of Smith's 'The Beatitude' {aka 'Blessed Are The Meek') on the original rhythm in 1975, and songs like 'A World Crisis' from the same year sound uncannily like Smith.

Cornel's first album was issued only in the UK early in 1974 and featured covers of the Elgins' 'Put Yourself In My Place', Eddie Floyd's 'I Never Found A Girl', Delroy Wilson's 'Trying To Conquer Me' and Hoagy Carmichael's standard 'Stardust'. Also included was another beautiful version of Curtis Mayfield's 'Minstrel & Queen'. By 1975 Cornell was, along with new star Johnny Clarke, Lee's biggest hitmaker.

Bunny Lee is from Greenwich Town, the ghetto district of Kingston that lies below Maxfield Avenue, south of Spanish Town Road and north of Marcus Garvey Drive. He had been a producer since 1967, when he gained his first success with Roy Shirley, Pat Kelly and Max Romeo. By the early seventies he was scoring hit after hit with Kelly, Slim Smith, Delroy Wilson, John Holt and Eric Donaldson. He was an early patron and close personal friend of King Tubby, and had been instrumental  in enabling Tubby to set up his mixing and voicing studio at 18 Dromilly Avenue, Waterhouse. Lee drew on a pool of talented singers who, like him, also lived on the 'Farm'. Partly as a response to Bob Marley's portrayal of Trenchtown in his songs, Lee decided to celebrate his roots in his own productions - 'We start promote Greenwich Farm - if Bob a promote Trenchtown, then me a promote Greenwich Town'. Indeed, the area had been prominent in the history of Jamaican music from the early sixties, and in the 1970s was a bustling hub of dancehall activity.

Lee's encouragement of other potential producers, including such as Yabby You, Pete Weston, Ossie Hibbert, Tappa Zukie, Linval Thompson and others meant that he was never very far from the centre of things. Perhaps this characteristic, like a many-tentacled omnipresence, inspired deejay Bunny Remus of El Toro Hi-Fi to nickname him 'The Gorgon' after the mythological monster, further inspiring a series of Cornell Campbell songs on the same theme. 'The Gorgon' - utilising a recut of Derrick Morgan's rocksteady boast 'The Conqueror' - was originally made as a special for the Hookim Brothers 'Channel One' sound system, for a clash with a rival sound called Mello Canary at the Blinking Beacon club near Mountain View Avenue. It was a huge hit when released as a 45 on Hot stuff in 1975, and was quickly followed by 'The Gorgon Speaks'. This song adapted the 'You Wrong/So Long' rhythm and has a cod-Spanish intro by Tappa Zukie, then recently returned from England. The final song in Cornell's 'Gorgon' series adapted an old hymn and was cut as both 'The Conquering Gorgon' and in a Rasta version as 'Lion Of Judah'.

The idea of using familiar 'revival' melodies continued with 'I Shall Not Remove'. The original 45 issue had a b-side directed 'Straight To Trojan Head', a reference to the financial collapse of the UK company in 1974-5. When Bob Marley issued his celebratory 'Natty Dread' on 45rpm early in 1975, Cornell responded with 'Natty Dread In A Greenwich Town'. Its b-side dub ('This Ya Version Red') was the first in which King Tubby used delay on the voice. 'Dance In A Greenwich Farm' itself was another special, originally cut by King Tubby for use against Black Harmony (or Arrows) in a clash at Little Joe's yard on 9th Street. The rhythm had been laid at Randy's in late 1974 and was intended to be the backing track for a John Holt version of the Bobby Day R&B oldie 'Over & Over'. Holt had  suddenly and unexpectedly left for England when 'Help Me Make It Through The Night' became a hit in December 1974, so Bunny and Cornell  wrote the words for the special; guitarist Earl 'Chinna' Smith sang the harmony. Again it was a massive success - even Coxsone ;licked over the rhythm with Sugar Belly's 'Over Dub A' - and it was also toasted by former Tippatone deejay Doctor Alimantado on his double-sided release 'Dread Locks Music / The Chalice Blaze' (At It, 1975). The song shows how nervous dance patrons could be in an atmosphere of general police harassment, describing the flight of a certain Jah Moley - the son of UK soundman D'Nunes - when he mistakes a 'baldhead informer' for a policeman at a dance.

'Forward Natty Dread' revisited Delroy Wilson's Studio One ska classic 'King Pharoah'; songs like this arose as singer, producer and friends exchanged ideas in the studio, as did the censorious 'Two Face Rasta'. The words for this song were written by Bunny, Cornell and King Tubby; as Bunny remembers: 'Tubby used to love play that, all in a 'im car - it was one of 'im favourite tune'. It was mixed by engineer 'Prince Phillip' Smart, Tubby's main 'apprentice' in 1975-5,  who now runs his own hit making studio (HC & F) in Long Island, New York. Similarly, 'Righteous Rastaman' was a collaborative effort between Bunny, Cornell and Pepe Judah.

The latest track here, 'Bandulu', adapts elements of the US folk song 'Tom Dooley' over a George Fullwood bass line influenced by the part played by Robbie Shakespeare on Black Uhuru's 'Shine Eye Girl'. As Bunny says: 'When Robbie did make 'Shine Eye Girl' with Uhuru, me ask Fully to lick it similar'. The lyric is directed straight to Pat Kelley's head for some unspecified act against the producer, the rhythm had already propelled Don Carlos' huge UK hit 'Late Night Blues'. It was also used for deejay versions by Papa Tullo and Purple Man, and a further vocal by Neville Brown ('The Right Time'). The next cut included here is 'Hard Time', with the late Ranking Dread delivering utterly authentic 'roots' sentiment in his unique sing-jay style.

During this period Cornell made many more hits for striker; notable among them are his cover of Gene Chandler's 'Duke Of Earl' (1975), a superb version of Ernest Wilson's 'I Will Never Change' (1976, aka 'Undying Love'), and his own compositions 'The Stalowatt' (1976) and 'Investigator' (1977). He also did the next cut to Johnnie Clarke's 'None Shall Escape The Judgement', called 'Gun Court Law' in 1975, the same year that Bunny Lee and bassist Robbie Shakespeare began releasing a string of hot tunes by Clarke and Campbell on the Bar Bell label. Included among them are Cornell's assured cover versions of Marvin Gaye's 'Wherever I Lay My Hat' and Curtis Mayfield's 'Keep On Running' (aka 'Keep On Moving').

He also recorded for other producers; among them are outstanding sides for Winston 'Niney' Holness ('I Heart Is Clean'), Coxsone Dodd ('Natty Don't Go' and 'I'm Still Waiting'), Tappa Zukie ('Follow Instruction'), the late Charles Reid ('Let The Wicked Stumble') and Joe Gibbs, for whom he made 'Hypocrite' and 'No Man's Land' in 1976, and the huge hit 'Boxing' in 1979.

Through the early 1980s both producer and singer inevitably maintained much lower profiles. Cornell himself recorded infrequently during the late 1980s; like Johnnie Clarke, he also cut a trio of sides in King Tubby's new studio in 1986 ('Raggamuffin Fowl', 'Hell In De Yard', 'Cowboy Town'). The early 1990s saw titles on King Jammy's brother Trevor James' 'Uncle T' imprint, - a recut of his own 'Devil In Bed' - and tunes for Bobby Digital and Arrows. In 1996 he toured Japan on the Golden Rock Steady Japansplash in April that year, alongside the (reformed) Heptones, Norma Fraser, Fab Five and Dennis Alcapone; during 1998 he recorded in a Uniques reunion project produced by Winston 'Niney' Holness. Hopefully his recent activities including a crisp new version of 'Boxing' (Mac Dada 1998) which revealed his voice sounding as youthful as ever, and several shows on the East coast USA reggae circuit during mid-1999, signal that there is much more to come from this fine and still under-appreciated singer.
Steve Barrow- December 1999
 
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