Original Blue Recordings Original Blue Recordings



Long regarded as “the Sam Cooke of reggae,” Jamaican vocalist Cornell Campbell comes off more like the genre’s Curtis Mayfield on this excellent and comprehensive compilation of his best work with producer Bunny Lee. Unlike, say, the usually good but sometimes merely archival Blood and Fire compilations of overlooked ’70s reggae, OBR has a relevance that extends beyond just cataloging a bygone era. Campbell’s falsetto sounds even more resonant among today’s crop of brazenly precious R&B singers (Usher, etc.) and tracks like the phenomenal “Just One Kiss (Magic Spell)” seem to beg for a modern interpretation by some velvet-throated New Jack. Campbell sings, “Just one kiss and I can’t sleep at night/It just goes on and on …” with a quiver in his voice that is as woefully whipped as it is proud to be so smitten.

Where attention is usually paid to reggae producers (King Tubby, Lee Perry, etc.) or more politically active frontmen (Bob Marley, Peter Tosh) of ’70s reggae, Campbell, like fellow singers Prince Allah and the like, have long been marginalized as disposable crooners. But Campbell here shows a more universal appeal than on his 1999 compilation, I Shall Not Remove, which sounded more like a historical document than a case for worldwide recognition. Wisely, the Moll-Selekta label has included Campbell’s take on Mayfield’s “I’m The One Who Loves You” and “You Don’t Care For Me,” as well as Cooke’s “I’m Just A Country Boy,” all of which try their damnedest to breath new life into songs instead of merely reggae-fying them.

E-mail Hobey Echlin at letters@metrotimes.com.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.