Home






This is my tribute page for my father Alex Campbell.

Alex’s early life.

 


He was born in Glasgow in 1925.  He was the son of Archibald Campbell.  Alex was orphaned not long after he was born.  So the story goes Alex's father came home from a night on the town and beat his heavily pregnant wife up.  Physical violence was not that uncommon in Glasgow.  A few days later the wife's brothers came round and returned the compliment to Archibald.  The official record is that Archibald died for TB a killer of many.  Within in  a year Alex's mum had also succumbed to this vile disease.  I have heard talk that Alex was in an orphanage for a while.  After sometime he was taken in by his grandmother and grandfather.  Life was hard in Glasgow of the late 1920s and early 1930s this did not affect Alex as much as you would have thought.  He rose above it all and his intellect piqued.  As a child he read every book in the juniors in the local library but was unable to get into the seniors as he was below 12.  Due to his instance they allowed him to be classed as an adult at the age of 9.  He then went on the read the entire senior library.  Whilst in junior school there was a question on felines.  In front of his class Alex proudly announced that the common cat was part of the same family as that of the lion.  His teacher thought that he was being impudent and said he was going to get the belt.  Alex maintained that he was right and was sent to the head master.  The headmaster said that the lion was not part of the same family as that of the lowly moggy; however after some research Alex was proven right.  Alex was commended in front of the whole school and given a book token for his troubles.  

Alex idolised his grandfather and he worked with the shire horses.  This was his trade unfortunately one day a shire horse stepped on his foot.  The resulting injury caused his untimely death.  This left Alex as the man of the family. It was at this point my father took on a lot of extra work to keep the house as a functioning entity.  He told me he had a number of paper round/delivery jobs that supplemented the family wage.  He did not let this deter him and managed to get into the prestigious Woodside Secondary School (this is still located in Woodlands Road, though in the seventies it was amalgamated with old Kent Road School and became a comprehensive school as a shadow of its former greatness).  Commoners did not go to university in my father’s time. 

After which Alex decided to go to London and became the youngest Executive officer in the Inland Revenue (now HMRC).  After a couple of years Alex yearned for more.  During this period he had an altercation with a senior member of staff over a woman Alex was dating.  Given Alex’s pride he resigned his position and started to travel.  He ended up in Paris where he met Joe Locker and Derroll Adams. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Campbell_(singer)  this is the wiki page for Alex.

The start of the road.

Alex decided that his career was in folk singing given that he had heard the call of the road at such a young age.  As Kerouac would have said he needed to get on the road it was in his soul and Alex had to answer that calling.  Alex started busking on the west bank of the Seine. Alex became so famous as a busker he was mentioned in some of the Paris guide books. contrary to the trashy mail order folk journal's opinion Alex masqueraded as blind blues-man this is fact a complete falsehood.  The author never met Alex in Paris but my mother spent a lot of time there with him and told me that this was simply untrue.  This was the period when Alex met and played with many of the greats of the folk world.  Alex loved the music of the world and being a citizen of the world enjoyed playing music which touched him.   1960 to 1967 he mainly played the UK touring via the many folk clubs.  One of Alex's friends told me they had seen a gig at the North Woodside Halls just off Maryhill road in Glasgow.  They said that Alex was supporting someone and he had played for 30 minutes and they audience where cheering a clapping so he carried on for another 30 minutes, this was in 1966.  Also Alex was a regular at the Cambridge folk festival in the early days of it.  Appearing along side the greats of the time.  I remember going to one and seeing people as far as the eye could see but bear in mind that I was only 3 foot tall at the time.  After the British folk revival started to stall Alex trailblazed a path to the continent when he did regular tours of Scandinavia.    

Songs.

Alex's most famous composition was I have been on the road, so long.   Alex mainly took traditional songs and arranged them for the modern age.  Or would take a traditional song and give it new lyrics hence Bonnie we lassie of Skagen.

Albums

Alex used to say that he was the most recorded British artist of all time.  Whilst this was true to an extent it is also clear that he took into account the compilation tracks that he appeared on as being his own albums as well.  This site has a wonderfully comprehensive list of Alex's albums.  http://www.nigelgatherer.com/perf/singers1/alexc/alxc5.html#noreg also this other site has a good bio and another good list of Dad's albums together with re issues.  http://www.theballadeersscotland.com/scots/ac_01.htm

Alex has a new album out.  I know 25 years after his death a new piece of material comes out.  It is amazing.  Well thanks to Dave Cousins of The Strawbs fame a recently found live album with Sandy Denny, Alex and my brother and me is coming out on the Witchwood label.  Entitled 19 Rupert Street (this being where it was recorded all those years ago).  He is a link to the album http://www.strawbsweb.co.uk/index0.htm  Like most things playing around with the site will give you the ins and the outs of it all.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rupert-Street-Sandy-Denny-Campbell/dp/B0057MP51A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313278504&sr=8-1  Also that is a link to Amazon who are selling the aforementioned CD.

Here is my you tube video for been on the road so long.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFNqEKNv_ZQ  Cheerydave has also uploaded a number of great tracks and this is one of my favourites, I remember my dad singing it in the mornings when I was waking in the sixties in Glasgow.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YprElM3H2eY  Another good tribute to Alex http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSCybelXX5Q&feature=related

Also I have set up a tribute site on you tube for Alex.  It can be found here.  http://www.youtube.com/user/TheAMCampbell?feature=mhee

Marriages

Peggy Seeger and Patricia Campbell.  This is how the story goes about Peggy Seeger.  He dated her for a bit.  Then later when they stopped dating she hooked up with ol' Ewan McCall.  McCall already had a wife but this was the swinging sixties.  Peggy had out stayed her welcome and her visa to the UK was at an end.  So Alex did the necessary and married her.  Later on when Ewie was divorced they got divorced.  My mother met Alex through a friend.  They went on a double date.  They got friendly and the rest was history as they say.  Patricia moved over to Paris with Alex.  When they were rich Alex was very generous and always bought everyone a whisky.  One year at Christmas they were so poor that all they could give each other were a packet of cigarettes but who needs wealth when you have love?  

Alex's favourite drinks.  

Alex was a whisky man.  He had a perchance for Johnny walker black label and red label.  He also liked J&B.  When blended whiskies became less popular he switched to single malt whiskies.  He drank them in a very Glaswegian way.  He once said to me that a malt whisky was like a woman you had to treat her with respect.  He went on to say that you could never mix a malt with a coke.  The coke had to be in a separate glass.  We used to have wine with our dinner.  Alex like a good French red.

Alex's favourite food.

Mince and tatties (beef mince and potatoes)

Alex's favourite sayings.

Hell yeah!!!! Woman make me a piece (Patricia please make me a sandwich), Alistair fix us two fingers of whisky....Hod yer whist (dear chap please be silent so I can enjoy my dram)

Alex's favourite classical composer.

Wagner.  He really liked opera.  He used to regal me with tales of his opera attendance as a boy in war torn Glasgow.  Also he was very fond of Dvořák's New world symphony.  I remember he told me that he had watched Amadeus.  He said to me it was a great movie. 

Alex Favourite Science Fiction Author

John Brunner he really liked John as he had met him and they became friends.  Also Alex got to read all of my John Brunner books and once remarked to me that people used to think that he was smashed when he was reading the Ace double which were printed with one book being right side up and the second being upside down.  So it could appear that you book was upside down to the casual viewer. 


Alex's favourite pubs

A guide to the various public establishments where good drinking whisky was available and a lively chat.  It has to be said that this list of three pubs is a bit old.  The Captain Rest at the bottom of Rupert Street in Glasgow, The Winter Gills across the road (famous in Glasgow for selling quarter gills of spirits instead of the English measure of a fifth of a gill) from the aforementioned Captains rest.  Also Alex used to frequent the Scotia pub http://scotiabar.net/   Though it has to be said I have been in there not five years back and its a shadow of its former glory.  Though you can still get a half and a half there or a whisky mac. 

Kind Words.

Here I will place links to people who have talked about Alex.

http://www.dickgaughan.co.uk/chain/alex-campbell.html  

http://www.theballadeersscotland.com/scots/ac_01.htm

http://www.nigelgatherer.com/perf/singers1/alexc.html

Discography of what I have on CD

Alex Campbell Transatlantic years collection I have been on the road.

Alex Campbell in Copenhagen

Alex Campbell @ Tivoli Gardens

Alex Campbell with Sandy Denny 19 Rupert Street (I am on Track 12 and I sound very sweet)

Folk Friends

I have Way out West and half of the Scottish breakaway as well...


  
Subpages (1): Photographs