Cornell Campbell Original Recordings 1970-79

Cornel Campbell is one of the greatest falsetto singers of all time when the production and song treat his voice just right. One wrong move and he sounds completely lost. In some respects, he sounds best in dub form, as King Tubby could punch in a snippet of vocals to great effect. The Blood and Fire collection of Campbell and producer Bunny Lee’s work showcased the vocal versions of the dubs that made his reputation, but this new collection promises to broaden the scope of Campbell and Lee’s partnership. Unfortunately, of the 20 tracks, only about half deliver the goods. Lee’s unpolished style sometimes works wonders for Campbell’s delicate voice: "Just One Kiss,” "Undying Love” and covers of Marvin Gaye and Impressions material are strong songs with equally strong delivery. The other tunes feature his wavering vocals overtop rhythms cooked up in the dying minutes of under-funded sessions, exemplifying the most slapdash qualities of the Jamaican studio system. Still, when he’s on, he’s on and it’s enough to hold anyone in thrall. Between this and the Blood and Fire collection, one could put together a near definitive CDR of CC’s work — not that I advocate that sort of thing. (Moll-Selekta)