Monday, February 19, 2007

JIMMY CAMPBELL - Completely Baked

Liverpool's Jimmy Campbell has died (January 4-1944-February 12, 2007). He once said, "A lot of my songs are cries for help, and I suppose that's why they didn't make the grade." Unlike his contemporaries Don McLean and Gilbert O'Sullivan, Campbell wasn't commercial with his romantic tunes, solemn rock numbers or bleakly timid brand of self-pitying ballads.

On the cover of "Half Baked," he's the tragic clown, but whether he was trying to be a shoegazer version of Anthony Newley or just a rival to other grim singer songwriters of the day (Andy Bown, Matthew Fisher, etc.) he never even got a U.S. record deal.
Campbell's frustrations began when he was part of The Panthers, a group that played on the same bill in 1962 as another Liverpool group, The Beatles. Two years later the struggling Panthers appeared on the radio, but the announcer introduced them as The Kirkbys, because that's the district where the band was from. The band changed their name to The Kirkbys, and recorded "It's a Crime" on RCA. They even toured with Herman's Hermits. Some of Campbell's songs were recorded by The Merseys ("Dreamin'" and "Penny in my Pocket").
When the times turned psychedelic, the band became 23rd Turnoff and Deram released "Michaelangelo." Next, Campbell was in Rockin' Horse and ultimately solo'd with less than successful albums from 1969-1972. His later years seem to be a cloud of too much smoking and drinking.
His death was a surprise for those who didn't know he was even ill, but I always thought he was pretty ill, and your download of two pity-me tracks from "Half Baked" should prove it. This is not a mock; we all want some sympathy now and then, and many a favorite song of ours is a woe-is-me lament, from "Alone Again Naturally" to The Beatles' "Girl" or REM's "Everybody Hurts."
On "Dulcie, It's December" he says: "I've just crawled out the bath, I'm shining and clean like a summer raindrop." At least, I hope this is a phone call and he's not in her bedroom. He says he's not as neurotic as he used to be: "What used to bother me then doesn't bother me now."
Next, "Forever Grateful," once again has him begging for "a helping hand" because "Hope no longer spreads its wings to help me through the day."
Jimmy Campbell is feeling very sorry for himself on "Dulcie" and "Forever Grateful," but now that he's dead, you can feel sorry for him, too.
I went to my shelf to get some vintage whine for you. From the original vinyl, no Rabidshare, an instant download,
Two Half Baked Songs by Jimmy Campbell.


Anonymous said...

Jimmy Campbell did get a U.S. deal.
"Half Baked" came out in the states on the "Paramount" record label,as did many other Vertigo releases.
I.E. "May Blitz - S/T"

tony catalano said...

i have all of his albums....i always thought he was a great song writer and artist.....full of commitment and personal stories.....commercial success does not always last...but great songs do...and so will jimmy..