We are extremely sad to pass on the news of another passing of a major figure in Jamaican music. On October 4th, Lloyd A. Campbell, producer extraordinaire, passed away in Florida after a 10 year battle with cancer. There are few producers that we’ve ever featured here on the Bovine Ska and Rocksteady that are as prolific as Lloyd Campbell, and there are few who have been dedicated to creating music as consistently as Campbell, who was still DJing and producing recording artists even when he was ill.
Born in Kingston, Campbell was fascinated by soundsystems as an adolescent. As a young man, Campbell spent some time in England, but returned to Jamaica in the early 1970s and began producing for his own labels. Because of his tireless dedication and output since the early 1970s, we are dedicating two plus hours to Lloyd Campbell and his production brilliance for his various imprints.
In this memorial show, you’ll hear selections from the Rattie Soul, Spiderman, Eagle, and Joe Frasier labels, and these selections are just a sliver of Lloyd Campbell’s body of work. And, we should mention that you will not hear any productions from The Thing; that is because The Thing is owned by Lloyd F. Campbell, not Lloyd A. Campbell. Both men had comic book related labels, but the two are completely different. Lloyd F. Campbell’s comic book themed label was The Thing, and Lloyd A. Campbell’s comic book themed labels were Eagle and Spiderman. Frankly, this caused us a lot of confusion because we always believed there was only one Lloyd Campbell, the producer, but regardless of this difference, there are more than enough Lloyd A. Campbell productions to go around.
We started off this memorial show on Lloyd A. Campbell with one of his earliest productions for his Rattie Soul label. You will hear “Waterloo Rock” from Rico Rodriguez, who Campbell first met and worked with during his time in London. One of the early artists that Campbell saw success with was Keith Poppin. The two started their collaboration when Campbell was still working at a dry cleaners in the infancy of his Spiderman label. Keith Poppin would record “Something for Breakfast” for Lloyd Campbell; the track would be released on Impact and for the Spiderman label
After an extended collaboration with Bunny Lee, Ronnie Davis recorded for Lloyd Campbell’s Spiderman label in multiple capacities. First, he recorded the single “Won’t You Come Home” for Campbell, which was a hit for the label. Then, through Campbell, Ronnie Davis met Keith Porter and became a member of The Itals, and the group also recorded multiple tracks for the Spiderman label, including “In A Dis Time,” which was one of the first successes for the group and a version of the “Won’t You Come Home” rhythm, which Campbell would use and re-invent over twenty times. You’ll now hear the original rhythm followed by a handful of versions that exist. Jimmy London and Keith Poppin spent time in London together, and it is thus no surprise that Jimmy London recorded for Lloyd Campbell as well. As a group, Skin, Flesh, and Bones recorded often with Lloyd Campbell. Skin, Flesh, and Bones had a rotating membership, but the mainstays of the group were: Lloyd Parks on bass, Ansel Collins on keyboard, Radcliffe “Dougie” Bryan and Bertram “Ranchie” McLean on guitar, Sly Dunbar on drums, and, on occasion, Bobby Kalphat and Tarzan Nelson on additional keyboard.
Rest in peace Mr. Campbell.