Don (Soul Train) Campbell – Campbell Lock


Don (Soul Train) Campbell


Listen – Campbell Lock MP3″

Greetings All.
Here we are at the middle of the work week, and I find myself in need of a groove.
It’s one of those mornings where I just sit here, holding my head in my hands and wondering how some people manage to continue living in the face of their own incontrovertible stupidity. I call these people hyper-resilient parasitic organisms. These are the folks that you see at every job, in every cubicle farm, who operate at a level from which mediocrity would be a huge leap upward, yet go through their day blissfully unaware of this condition. They’re like bulls that have convinced themselves (or have sadly been convinced by others) that they are supposed to be destroying everything in the china shop. Like barnacles on the hull of a rusty ship, here they shall remain until the unlikely day arrives where someone scrapes them off – forcibly.
I only tell you this to explain how badly I need a musical boost.
To remedy this situation, and in hopes that I may remedy it for others similarly afflicted, I bring you a taste of funky El Lay.
This taste arrives in the form of Don (Soul Train) Campbell’s ‘Campbell Lock’.
Now, I’ve gone on in this space before about “mystery records”, and while I may have initially approached this particular side from that angle, I have to say that although I may not have been able to get all the facts woven together into a complete picture (at least to my satisfaction), the facts themselves (as they orbit around the record) are very interesting.
Don Campbell – minus the parenthetic reference to Soul Train, more on that later – was an LA based street dancer, who in the late 60’s started to develop a style known as locking (or more accurately ‘Campbellocking’ as it was first known). The dance group he formed, along with Adolpho ‘Shabadoo’ Quinones, Fred ‘Mr Penguin’ Berry, Leo ‘Flukey Luke’ Williamson and Greg ‘Campbellock Jr.’ Pope (among other rotating members), known as ‘The Lockers’ were hugely influential, along with innovators of popping, in giving birth, directly and indirectly in the mid-70’s birth of break dancing. Along with non-founding member, choreographer Toni Basil, the Lockers went on to make a grip of TV appearances in the 70’s – including a memorable stint Saturday Night Live* – and became, if not ubiquitous, a familiar sight. One of the shows they appeared on was ‘What’s Happening’, where Fred Berry, aka Mr. Penguin had become a regular cast member.
Campbell and some of the others also did time as part of the  Soul Train Dancers (Campbell was paired with choreographer Damita Jo Freeman) , where their signature moves would spread like wildfire.
Sometime after late 1971, when Soul Train relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles, Campbell went into the studio with Stanson Records and recorded the funky ode to the dance he originated you are downloading today.
Though I don’t know for sure, I suspect that Campbell’s involvement with this track extends no further than contributing the vocals.
The Stanson label was founded in Ohio in the late 50’s by singer/actor Sonny Craver. After Craver relocated to California in the 1960’s, he reactivated the label, releasing sides by himself, Apple & Three Oranges, King Solomon, and Paul Humphrey among others.
The writing of ‘Campbell Lock’ is credited to Craver, though as was the case with many, many records – then and now – whether he actually wrote it, in part or in full is open to interpretation.
One of the more interesting aspects of ‘Campbell Lock’, which is an excellent, funky record, is the fact that the guitar line is almost identical to that on ‘The Humpty Dump’ by the Vibrettes. Aside from the fact that both records were LA-area (‘Humpty Dump’ was a Johnny Otis-related production on the Lujon label, often misattributed (for some unknown reason) to the great Eddie Bo ), and are of a similar vintage, I have been unable to discover any connection between the two.
Was it the same guitarist on both records? Was it a different guitarist lifting the riff from the Vibrettes side? As in the famed case of ‘The People vs. How Many Licks Does It Take To Get To The Center of a Tootsie Pop’, the world may never know. If anyone out there knows of an actual connection between the two records, I’d love to hear it.
The Lockers went on to further fame and fortune, with Campbell touring and teaching dance to this day, Shabbadoo appearing in the ‘Breaking’ films, the late Fred Berry going on to fame as Rerun, and Toni Basil – a performer with an incredibly interesting resume as a choreographer, singer and actress – afflicting the 1980’s pop charts with the execrable ‘Mickey’.

* I remember a short film featuring the Lockers, in tandem with several ballet dancers en pointe, doing a funky take on ‘Swan Lake’


16 Responses to “Don (Soul Train) Campbell – Campbell Lock”

  1. Wazza Says:

    Funky you must work for the same company as me. In the words of Travis Bickle ‘this place needs a good clean’:)

  2. mike Says:

    hi there
    your blog is really the best when it comes to soul funk music
    keep up the good work
    check out

  3. Paul Says:

    Awesome website! Kudos for exposing the world to such joy. I don’t think there is any better music than some funk 45’s. Just wanted to say thanks for exposing these bangers that I would have never found.

  4. Art(uro) Says:

    “Hyper-resilient parasitic organisms?” I just call them “idiots.” I have two of them hanging directly above my head. Thanks for the Lock-up.

  5. Betsy Says:

    I was so thrilled by the whole Campbell Lock movement in the early 70s–the most exciting dance ever (some of the work in “Rize” comes close) and a dance I could never master. Ha! Not even close. And watching it was so challenging because there was so much going on, you didn’t know where to look. I wanted to inhale it all, eat it for dinner. I’ve thought about it often over the years–I grew up listening to Detroit radio and love r&b and funk. Mentioned it to a young’un not too long ago and he looked at me with an arched eyebrow, like I was totally out of it and misguided. “Campbell Lock?” He’d never heard of it. Beck talks about “pop-locking beats from Korea”–must be an allusion to Campbell Locking, don’t you think? I grew up listening to Marvin Gaye (check out his “In Our Lifetime” CD if you haven’t already) and loved Parliament Funkadelic and Bootsie Collins and all of them cats! There was a song, in the early ’70s, maybe 1973, that I heard on Detroit radio and was never able to identify since then. I think it was called “I’ve been watching you” (saw you last night/behind the big oak tree/what you was doing to him/sure do wish it was me”). Anybody know the name of that toon and who did it in the mid-’70s? I think it’s based on an old blues tune, but it was hot. I heard it once and then it was gone.

    Great web site–Campbell Locking will live on as one of the most exciting moments in dance, in fact in creativity period.

  6. Mike Eiland Says:

    Betsy! I’m from Columbus, Ohio and “Campbell Lock” was a big Top 40 and R&B hit here in late spring 1972, just before I graduated high school. Our Top 40 station edited out “pop your back…ease some slack” out and replaced it with the instrumental flip part to run in place of it. Many R&B hits were edited by pop radio to make it more pallatable I suppose. Our R&B station played the heck out of it. Sonny Craver did a lot of work with Columbus acts and even had small radio hits here on his own.

    The song you asked about ,”I’ Been Watching You”, is by the South Side Movement (Wand Records) and came out in April 1973. “Leaving Me” by the Independents on the same label I bought around the same time. South Side Movement’s single is Wand 11251 and the Independents is Wand 11252. Wouldn’t be surprised if they were recorded on the same day. I bought the SSM record without even hearing it first, because I bought Billboard Magazine a lot back then and it was one of the only tunes listed that I hadn’t heard on our local stations. So I took a chance, like I did many times back then, and brought home gold! Our high school’s 35th reunion is coming up in August. I am not the DJ for the event, but I offered to make a CD of “dinner music” featuring the tunes that came out between September 1971 and June 1972, our senior year. “Campbell LocK” will certainly get a reaction!

  7. Terry Says:

    I have been a major campbell lock from the first time I saw the lockers in the early 70’s on soul train.I live in detroit,michigan,and I’d like to know if there’s any footage available to buy featuring the original lockers.Thanks

  8. sara Says:

    what the heck the lockers are wack

  9. Sam Says:

    Can you send we an mp3 of that Don Campbell tune? I’ve been a fan of his dance for some time and have even met him….i had no idea he cut a single

  10. Sam Says:

    sammyp01 at

  11. PSK Says:

    Hey I just read this and Im curious as to where I can find written and or oral support for your claim that breaking derived directly from Campbell Locking and Popping? I’d like to also point out a time discrepancy in regard to Soul Train moving from Chicago to LA. You wrote “Sometime after late 1971, when Soul Train relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles, Campbell went into the studio etc.” Although you point out that don went into the studio after the move of soul train this statement leads one to believe Don Campbell was on Soul train when Soul Train was in Chicago. If this is what you are saying and you have proof or can support your statement cool if not I think this should be clarified. I’d like to also add that the Campbell Lockers were formed after Don left Soul Train, i think this is important to note as he and the Campbell Lockers were later invited back as guest of the program this was also major in regard to his accomplishments. Lastly, there is no such thing as “Break Dance” thats a media term coined in 1981, breakers never referred to themselves as break dancers in the 70’s it was only in the 80’s that this term was mis-used in the media. The correct term is “B-boy when referring to a male breaker and “B-gril” when referring to a female breaker. To a breaker to say break dancer is disrespectful or either confirms ones lack of knowledge about the culture. a b-boy or girl is a dancer who represents the complete form. This term is also “poly-synonymous” a B-boy or girl could mean a bronx boy or girl, a boogie boy or girl, a person who listens to break beat music, it also meant someone was upset i.e. why you breaking on me (why you upset with me) in some cases dancers would say you he’s breaking, when referring to some doing there thing on the floor etc. B-boy/girl has many meanings, and still today is used as a euphemism specifically in NYC. Let me also say, this culture (Bboy/girl) culture derived from East Coast Gang culture and has set the blue print for what hip hop culture is without the bboy/girl culture there would never have been a culture referred to as hip hop culture. It was the bboy/girl culture that confirmed all the elements of hip hop culture mc dj dance knowledge and was Bam that pulled this under one roof and stamped it hip hop. So again im curious as to what proof written or oral you have that bboy/girl culture derived from Campbell Locking or Popping. Keep in mind that W drops, russians, splits, floor drops and the like are staples of black and latino dances since the 20’s so these things existed back in the day. I am speficifically refering to the genisis of breaking. Let me also add, that just because you and or others may have seen breaking or beginings of on the west prior to it being called breaking it does not mean breaking came from the west and or it derived from Campbell Locking. thats like say popping came from the east because we saw it on the east first…of thats mad crazy ….PSK

  12. funky16corners Says:


  13. thatsrich Says:

    I have the Shabadoo Swan Lake bit, and I am going to put it up on YouTube soon. Trying to find a better version, but I may have the only one around. It’s on a VHS tape from the 70s.

  14. Buster Jones – Remember Me « Soul Garage Says:

    […] 502 – The Symbols – Blue Autumn / Bumpity Bump 508 – King Errison – Camelot / Jing Jing 509 – Don (Soul Train) Campbell – Campbell Lock 510 – Sonny Craver – I Wanna Thank You/Oh Huh, Oh Yeah 511 – Bobbie Williams – Singing […]

  15. Jerry King Says:

    I am with the Second Resurrection Band aka The Joe Tex Show Band. We did shows with The Lockers in San Francisco. Stanson Records has a ’45’ by us entitled “Don’t Let Daylight Catch You” produced by Henry Graham. It was recorded around 1976-1977 in Los Angeles. We have not seen or heard the “45,” but we heard it was released. We also do not know if there is an album released, but we heard of one with our name spelled 2nd Re$$urection. Please contact me as to this music. We also would like to know if the song “Smoke In The Disco” was released and above all, where can we find any copies of anything. Thanks for your time. Jerry King (770) 900-3745 – Atlanta

  16. Jay Roberts Says:

    Toni Basil was a FOUNDING member of The Lockers. She was Don Campbell’s dance partner and thanks to her, The Locker’s became a group and started working professionally. Toni Basil is a master at all forms of dance and was hip enough to bring street dancing from the clubs into the mainstream by discovering amazing street dancers. There we’re no rotating members either, just a couple dancer’s who filled in like once or twice to cover for a member who couldn’t make a gig. After she left the group she used several members in her later projects like music videos and TV specials in Europe. She created a short film that was a street version of Swan Lake a few years after the Lockers broke up. The true history will be at

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: