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VCV: Eddie C. Campbell – “Easy Baby”

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We continue with our look at cuts from albums nominated at the 2010 Blues Music Awards…

Eddie C. Campbell didn't record his first solo album until 1977 but had been active in Chicago's blues scene for more than a decade before that, working as a sideman to a slew of the great bluesmen who continued to dominate the city's West and South sides.

That sense of past and present combine when Campbell records a loving tribute to his longtime musical companion, Magic Sam. Campbell begins “Easy Baby” by paying tribute to the fallen band leader and pioneer of what is known as the West Side sound. What follows is a textbook example of the sound Campbell learned from greats like Sam and helped to define as part of their band and on their own.

David “Honeyboy” Edwards, one of the greatest Delta bluesmen, described listening to guitarists who inspired him and the beautiful chords they could play. Campbell's “Easy Baby” solo blends some beautiful chords with single-string leads that alternately ring and sting.

The production and arrangement are very open, allowing the ringing, echo guitars to drench the song as organs shimmer quietly in the background. Campbell's vocal is also a showcase performance as he's able to display his range and sounds quite comfortable in lower, mid, and upper octaves.

Campbell's Tear This World Up is nominated for Album of The Year.

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About Josh Hathaway

  • Josh Hathaway

    I don’t know if this song is representative of the entire disc or not. This is one of my two favorites on the album, though, and I love the heartfelt tribute to one of the greats.

  • I’m so glad you’re going through all of the nominees so carefully, Josh. I don’t know many voters who take the time. I’m digging through my stack of CDs slowly but surely (though I’m far behind due to illness) and while I don’t always come to the same conclusions you do, we’re generally not far off.

    I’m going to have to take another listen to this one.

  • Josh Hathaway

    I’ll have some thoughts on the disc as a whole written soon. This was just a look at one track. Eddie’s — let’s call it, personality — is present on the disc and makes for a unique listen. His playing is remarkable. I love the tone and restraint.

  • John Taylor

    It’s a good disc, but leans to the indiosyncratic (sp?) .. there’s no one quite like Eddie.
    Me, if I had to choose, I’d take Lurrie Bell’s last record over Eddie C’s – Lurrie seems, right now, to be the most passionate performer on the scene. His notes – and there’s never a wasted one – seem ripped straight from a broken heart. Utterly devastating … and for a guy working well within a defined genre, utterly brilliant!

  • Josh Hathaway

    I’m going to be writing a full review of the album in the coming days as part of my series but I’ll tip my hand and say yes, you should.

  • wow, it sounds like i have to get a copy of this. anything inspired by one of my favorite blues records (Sam’s West Side Soul) has got to be good.