Eddie C. Campbell: Tear This World Up (2009)
Eddie C. Campbell might have been born in Mississippi, but it's his mastery of Chicago blues, and more particularly the west side variant of the form, that he's known for. He's a guitar slinger of the first order too, one of the few who can still get sufficient life out of the blues form, as opposed to resorting to overplaying and histrionics for spurious effect.
He was also Magic Sam's best friend, but that wouldn't amount to much if it wasn't for the fact that he mines the seam with a similar depth of feeling as his sadly departed colleague. His reading of that master's "Easy Baby" is both sincere and trenchant, with the latter quality being emphasized by his spoken words and his guitar, the reverberations of which echo the sound of surf guitar man Dick Dale.
Indeed, the very sound of Campbell's guitar is a key identifier. On "Voodoo" he appropriately plays like a man possessed, which would amount to a whole lot of nothing if it wasn't for the fact that his sincerity is another factor that singles him out. Not for him any of the showy aspects of present day blues; instead, he's got a whole lot of voodoo of his own to lay down, and it's potent indeed. In solo he veritably stings, making for one of those indefinable thrills.
He's not a newcomer to funk either, as "Care" exemplifies. His falsetto might not be what it once was but his combination of speech and singing makes for a potent brew anyway. The band's right there with him too, embodying the Chicago way, especially when Campbell's solo again hits the spot in a fashion arguably only a man of his depth of experience could.
Furthermore, he knows all about the telling phrase, and he proves it on "My Last Affair," where he flirts as much with mortality as he does with the woman of his affections. This one also shows how he's capable and without apparent effort it must be said- of putting a new spin on old formulas. The invigoration he brings to bear here is supplemented by another solo that puts a smile on the face and a fire in the belly.
"All Nite" is more than pejorative too. In short, Campbell is buzzing on life on this one, and Karl 'Little Daddy' Outten lays down some of that piano accompaniment after the manner of Sunnyland Slim all those decades ago. To say it's a gas is not only to sum it up but to grace it with a quality that isn't exactly in plentiful supply.
Track Listing: Makin' Popcorn; Big World; Easy Baby; Tie Your Time Up; Voodoo; Love Me With a Feeling; Vibrations in the Air; Care; It's so Easy; My Last Affair; I'm Just Your Fool; All Nite; Summertime; Bluesman.
Personnel: Eddie C. Campbell: vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar; Dario Golliday: electric bass; Marty Binder: drums; Karl "Lil Daddy" Outten: piano, organ; Mojo Mark Cihlar: harmonica (1, 5, 7, 11); Marty Sammon: piano (4, 9, 10, 11), organ (9); Chuck Parrish: trumpet (2, 8, 9, 11); Sam Burckhardt: tenor saxophone (2, 8, 9, 11); Juli Wood: baritone saxophone (2, 8, 9, 11).