It’s amazing to think that Cornel Campbell has been recording since the 1950’s, releasing music on Studio One and later working with the great Reggae producer Bunny Lee back in the Seventies. He’s now 68 and still recording, here tonight to promote the album “Nothing Can Stop Us” recorded with the Soothsayers. This Reggae band, led by Robin Hopcraft, first met Campbell in 2011 and the new album is the result of their collaboration.
The show begins with the Soothsayers playing some of their dubby instrumentals. Their sound is a rich mixture of Afro-beat, Jazz, Funk and heavy doses of dub, which makes for a great mix to dance to. After a while, they welcome Mr. Campbell to the stage to a huge reception. He looks fit and trim, genuinely pleased to be singing. Not having heard the album before, I would describe it as Rootsy and Dub-wise. Coupled with his well known falsetto it’s a great album to groove along to. The album title track “Nothing Can Stop Us” is a melodic nod to the Lovers Rock sound Cornel Campbell made in the Seventies. They play a song called “Conqueror”, complete with plenty of dub effects worthy of King Tubby and one called “There’s a Fire” which could be a commercial hit if record companies supported Reggae like they used to. Those were the stand out tunes on first listen for me.
This is a collaboration that works well, something that their record label Strut has experience in doing (having previously paired Horace Andy with Ashley Beedle and Sly and Robbie with Amp Fiddler). Good to see a true Reggae veteran still able to turn out a seasoned performance and an album that would appeal to music fans and not just Reggae devotees.