Greetings my name is paul fraser i create this web page not for my personel satisfaction but for the memory of a great blues & rock singer who unfortunatly is no longer with us and seems to be unrepresented to a low degree on the net considering his great talent
a friend put me onto him in 1996 upon hearing his ONE BELIEVER album from the first song "devil in my closet" and through the whole album i was and still am rivited i so it was with crushing sadness i learnt of his death following is a report on his life and death?????
It's been said that only the good die young. John Campbell was good; and his
death on June 13 at the age of 41 leaves a gaping hole in the current blues
scene. The singer-guitarist, who was in the midst of working on demos with
former Double Trouble bassist Tommy Shannon, died of heart failure at his
home in New York City. A spokesperson from his management company
confirmed that he had previous health problems.
Campbell, who hailed from Shreveport, Louisiana, was a purveyor of dark,
driving Delta blues. For 25 years, he played in places where he said "...if you
didn't have a gun they gave you one...." Beginning his professional career at the
age of 13, Campbell digressed briefly when he took up drag racing, until a
horrific accident sidelined him. His recuperation period was spent listening to
Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker, a time that served to
define his desire to make the blues his life.
Campbell relocated to New York in 1988, and found the city deeply influencing
the music. He said, "...At first, it felt like the city was going to engulf a lonely,
single guitar." Signed to Elektra, Campbell recorded One Believer [CD
961086-2]. The content of this 1991 label debut often imparts a sense of
foreboding, at the same time heralding the recognition of an uncommon talent. "I
got the Devil in my closet, and the wolf is at my door," Campbell sings in a deep
This year's Howlin' Mercy [CD 961440-2] rages even more. "When the Levee
Breaks" (Led Zeppelin-Memphis Minnie) allows Campbell's National steel
guitar to seethe with swamp and bayou attitude; while the traditional "Saddle Up
My Pony" is spine tingling in its vocal intensity. A tour with the Buddy Guy band
had brought John Campbell to the attention of a wider audience, his rock 'n
blues opening set playing nicely against Guy's Chicago sensibilities.
From One Believer to Howlin' Mercy, we've seen an artist do some personal
conquering, one who was gearing up to offer so much more. "If there was a
phantom hellhound chasing me at one point in my life, maybe now he's sitting
beside me," said Campbell. "I taught him to sit, so I can stand my ground a little
bit more. Still, I feel like I'm just beginning. All this time, I've been preparing
myself as a student. I'm not near done."
- Ellen Geisel (Clifton Park, NY)