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Alex Campbell At the Tivoli Gardens

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Album Review

With the mid-'60s folk revival, the role of the musical interpreter took a back seat to the singer/songwriters inundating the scene, and as time edged on, the artists of performance were overshadowed by the artists of songcraft. It is for this reason that musicians like Alex Campbell are not widely known, where Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Leonard Cohen are, and represent the '60s folk revival in the history books. While, Dylan, Simon, and Cohen, among others, are obviously important figures in the shaping of folk and rock music throughout the end of the 20th century, it should be duly noted that a large part of their initial outreach depended on the performers whose interpretations of their songs opened up an audience that would've been otherwise unattainable.

Scottish singer Alex Campbell topped the list of these song interpreters and At the Tivoli Gardens is a fantastic document which proves it. His whiskey-shaped vocals are simple, straightforward, unpretentious, and inviting; his performances are passionate and honest, and most importantly, sincere. Stripping out any unnecessary flourishes, Campbell used his innate presence to convey emotion and message. By using this approach, he breathes new life into his interpretations, truly making each track his own without compromising the integrity of the song. Campbell's lone composition "Long Gone From Home" sits comfortably among his choice of materials (ranging from Bob Dylan to Tom Paxton to Ewan MacColl, among others) and serves as the lone thread connecting him from esteemed performer to esteemed songwriter.


Born: 1925 in Scotland

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

Alex Campbell was one of Scotland's best-loved wandering minstrels. Learning the art of busking while traveling with American folk singers Derroll Adams and Ramblin' Jack Elliott during the late '50s, he continued to perform a mixture of traditional Scottish tunes, American work songs, spirituals, and ballads until his death in 1987. He played an important role in introducing the songs of Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, and Woody Guthrie to audiences in England and the Celtic Isles. Campbell moved to Denmark...
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Alex Campbell At the Tivoli Gardens, Alex Campbell
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