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The Portable Kate Campbell

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Album Review

You've got to figure that there's something to do with record contract machinations in Kate Campbell's curious decision to re-record 29 of the 33 songs on her second (Moonpie Dreams), third (Visions of Plenty), and fourth (Rosaryville) albums, all originally released on Compass Records, and instead issue them on two albums, this one and Sing Me Out, released on the same day, August 10, 2004, on Compadre Records, along with a reissue of her debut album, Songs From the Levee. The obvious thing to say is that if you own those earlier albums is you probably don't need this one, which features re-recordings of "Wrought Iron Fences," "Galaxie 500," "Tupelo's Too Far," "When Panthers Roamed in Arkansas," "Bud's Sea-Mint Boat," "See Rock City," and the title song from Moonpie Dreams; "Crazy in Alabama," "A Perfect World," "Bus 109," "Deep Tang," and the title song from Visions of Plenty; and "Porcelain Blue," "Rosa's Coronas," "Rosemary," "Look Away," and the title song from Rosaryville. But if you own those albums, you are no doubt a Kate Campbell fan, and so you may be interested to hear her reinterpretations of these old favorites, on which she is joined by some classy and complementary guest vocalists, among them Nanci Griffith ("Galaxie 500"), Rodney Crowell ("A Perfect World"), and Kim Richey ("See Rock City"). And if you do not have the earlier albums, this one, while it cannot be called a comprehensive best-of, nevertheless does choose the best and most substantive songs from three of Campbell's better collections. The neophyte will get a good sense of the singer/songwriter's sensibility, particularly as she reflects on the difficulties of growing up in the South during the Civil Rights struggles.


Born: October 31, 1961 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The people and culture of the modern South serve as the inspiration for the songs of Nashville-based singer/songwriter Kate Campbell. The daughter of a Baptist preacher, Campbell uses her songs to chronicle the societal changes below the Mason-Dixon Line. Born in New Orleans, where her father was attending seminary school, Campbell spent her formative years in northern Mississippi and Nashville, TN. Campbell's greatest musical influence came from her mother, who sang and played blues and swing tunes...
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