Friday, 7 March 2014

Alex Campbell (1925 – 1987)

Alex Campbell was born in 1925 in Glasgow. He was brought up by his grandmother after his parents and siblings sisters died from tuberculosis . He idolised his grandfather and became an avid reader. During the War years he learned the songs of Allied servicemen. He left school and went to London where he worked at the Inland Revenue (now HMRC). After a couple of years he left to travel and ended up a student in Paris. To make extra money he became a well known busker. Later he played in a café after he became friendly with American folk musician Derroll Adams.

On trips back to London in the 1950s, Campbell appeared at Alexis Korner's "Blues and Barrelhouse" club and other skiffle and folk music venues. He soon became involved with the folk music revival taking place in London and met Ewan MacColl.

By the early 60s Campbell was an established folk singer playing to audiences in the UK and Europe . He enthralled his audiences with his story-telling and singing. His performances were occasionally marred by his excessive drinking. He recorded over 100 albums but didn’t enjoyed great commercial success.

He never restricted himself to Scottish folk music which was met with some criticism but enjoyed a catholic taste recording many folk styles and showcasing other writers' work, including Paul Simon, Anne Briggs, Tom Paxton and Bob Dylan.

He became a major influence on many folk singers and earned the nick name Big Daddy due to his persistence and generosity promoting new talent. Sadly Alex Campbell died of tuberculosis in 1987.

Worth a listen
The Dundee Weaver (1963)
The Wee Cooper O' Fife (1963)
Wi' a Hundred Pipers (1963)
Will ye no come back again (1963)
Done in the valley (1963)
Love is teasing (1964)
I’m a rover (1964)
Been on the Road So Long (1969)

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