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Cornel Campbell meets Soothsayers - Nothing Can Stop Us

Cornel Campbell meets Soothsayers - Nothing Can Stop Us

Cornel Campbell meets Soothsayers - Nothing Can Stop Us

By on - 4 comments

The Original Gorgon singer travels to far flung places.


Cornel Campbell has always dropped one certified cracker of an album on to the pile this year with the coolly haunting deep roots sounds of the Zion I Kings production 'New Scroll'. His second takes him to a road less travelled: the eddying swooping Afrobeat dub and soul infusions of London’s fiercely consistent revolving door collective Soothsayers.

Cornel Campbell meets Soothsayers - Nothing Can Stop Us'Nothing Can Stop Us' is the latest in Strut Records collaborative Inspiration Information series (the title a nod to psychedelic progressive soul guitarist Shuggie Otis – whose touring band were in attendance at the London Launch of Soothsayers last longplayer 'Human Nature'). Putting Cornel’s vanilla-ice-cream-sweet voice to a mixture of new Soothsayers rhythms and older ones from 'Human Nature' and previous albums, it’s a different more daring animal from 'New Scroll'. Yet a few listens will fulfil its promise to be good to your earhole.

This is a soulful, lighter side to Cornel than on Scroll replete with cascading Sam Cooke style “ta-ta-ta’s” and “whoa-oa-oa’s”. Lyrically his messages are still of peace and guidance. The fiery warmth of the music spans the spectrum from traditional one drop to the Afrobeat-meets reggae end of Soothsayer’s repertoire – as if they anticipated Cornel was bringing out a straight roots record elsewhere.

Standouts include the 50/50 Afrobeat/dub fusion of hymn to righteous detachment It’s Not For Me (using the rhythm to It’s Not Easy from 'Human Nature') and the guiding words and hallowed harmonies of Ode To Joy. There’s also a variation on Cornel’s classic Jah Jah Me No Born Yah, which Campbell and the band have been playing out live, and comes with a quizzical dub.

Occasionally Cornel’s lyrics can sound off-the-cuff compared to compositions on the same backings from 'Human Nature'. This is particularly the case with previously released single I’ll Never Leave which was recorded after a chance meeting at Bunny Lee’s studio and kickstarted the project in 2011. However, Cornell’s soaring voice and the music make up for this – and it is a tribute to the consistency of the songs on 'Human Nature' rather than any failing. Where 'New Scroll' was lyrically a little tighter, here the sonic craft – with guest mixes by Yesking, Manasseh,Ticklah and Wrongtom - is slightly more rounded and assured.

This Spring Mykal Rose issued 'Showdown In A Bloody Town' via California’s Foreign Key Records which mixed reggae with Mulatu Astatke Ethio Jazz brass played by Black Water Gold Horns. This venture continues the welcome trend of Jamaican legends voicing over African style rhythms – a reply to the procession of Bob Marley-esque African reggae artists marketed at the West.

Some of the Inspiration Information series (such as Sly and Robbie Meets Amp Fiddler and Horace Andy vs Ashley Beedle) were more “file under interesting” than “exhilarating”. 'Nothing Can Stop Us' feels like a less rushed, complete work. It’s a grower compared to 'New Scroll' but this is due to it taking the Original Gorgon singer to far flung places. If you only buy one Cornel Campbell album this year?  You’re making an error – you need two.

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Posted by El DubTor on 07.11.2013
The guy here is trying to make an effort comparing two albums by a great singer. This is a crucial album in my opinion in defining the European sound VS the V.I sound (Midnite, Abja, Army) Caribbean sound, the heaviest sound nowadays. ..THERES NO COMMENT "NEW SCROLL" is one of the best albums in 2013 if not the best in the las couple of years, more ROOTS AND culture with even more flavor than the last album like this "Earl Zero - And God Said To Man"..and if nobody has notice IGRADE-ZION I KINGS have reach new limits bringing New Old reggae.....Virgin Island Sound is smashing up the competition!!

Posted by 1Fikir on 07.25.2013
I would have to say that this is not a comparison between EU vs V.I.! Zion I Kings is not an exclusive Virgin Islands Label. Out of a group of five close bredren, only one lives in the VI and is not actually from VI. I don't feel like recent ZIK productions cannot be compared to albums done by (Midnite, Abja, Army), totally different time and space, although their influence has evolved from such. Roots music is international and without borders, especially in today's productions. Zion I kings represents internationally from the US, VI, EU, and JA, and Jamaica nor VI can claim any one sound is theirs. Music is for all and made by all! Remember this is kings music, and the King's music is higher than nations and borders. Ras Tafari Selassie the 1st and last without beginning or end!

Posted by DUBTOR on 08.02.2013
First of all. the last album from Army, Abja, Midnite have come out from ZIK.. Second their sound has been defining V.I vibe for a couple of years now, including other labels, such as RastafarIa and many others.. I'm telling this cause I live in Puerto Rico, an island very very near by.. So I get my hands on their material very often... 3rd of All the distinctive sound form the V.I is very clear and sound. If you can’t hear it when you hear it.. Still you need to listen to more albums from the Caribean... I’m not saying Roots Music is from here and there.. If just clarifing what every ROotsMan and Dubcollector nowadyas knows.. That the V.I sound is the most similar to the original late 70's - early 80's sound that a many many people agree is the most CRUCIALREGGAE SOUND… and we all know that BDF is trying to get Cornell in the studio to try put some material that can overtop this album.. It just can be done… You would need the Roots Radics to top this album…Seen ?

P.S: Yeshua is I&I imperial Majesty. Haile Sellasie was an orthodox Christian. So if u wanna look cool praising Sellasie.. Think again.. Praise HIS majesty Yaweh.. Praise HIM right!!

Posted by 1Fikir on 09.10.2013
here is a clarification of some important points, as first pointed out, regarding Abja, Army, and Midnite quote.

Latest releases by VI artist and the label;

Army - 382 records and Higher bound
Abja - Lionz of Kush and Higher Bound
Midnite - Last VI album was Igrade records, BUT produced by Andrew Bassie Campbell (A Jamaican Producer) not ZIK.
These are not ZIK productions Idren!

ZIK sound has evolved from VI influence, listen to New Scroll (some of it recorded in the VI) and compare dem to albums, Midnite - Nemozian Rasta, dat really define the" VI sound". Two different sounds, studios, musicians, and producers. And dema naa trying to recreate dem sound neither, they have dem own TOP NOTCH sound inspired from late 70's - 80's era Rastafari conscious roots. A one drop is a one drop, wether from Jamaica, PR, or VI. A slow Tempo, one drop, and conscious lyrics na make a VI sound. Man and woman have been doing that since the 60's, and before that in Africa. No one person can claim music as theirs, and reggae proves this true. Where was reggae, one drop created? (Jamaica) and who is holding the torch with real conscious one drop music productions consistantly? (The West, na Jamaica) Just to add, some of the first Midnite albums were recorded in Washington D.C., US, and that is were Igrade records and Midnite jump started. I hear just as much American Hip Hop influence in VI roots music as much as Jamaican roots. To me, Abja, Army, and Midnite's recent productions have continue to define the VI sound I n I is talking about.

Remember King, Something created out of nothing is against the UNIVERSAL laws of physics!

and that is also why many love Selassie, because it brings a real, living, tangible example to many in African Diospora and victims of colonialism. The imaginary idea of Yaweh, God, or whatever, is vague and unclear, leaving man without foundation to be enslaved. Our own perceptions create the idea of god, and for many Selassie is the closest living example for I n I who know the energy he came to offer, without aplogies or allowing the chance for someone else to come along and say, your god is not right!

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