A native of Duncan, Mississippi, guitarist/vocalist Eddie C. Campbell is one of the last of the originators of the West Side sound of Chicago blues still performing in their prime. Campbell began his recording career with a handful of singles in the sixties, but the record that put him on the blues map was King of the Jungle (Mr. Blues, 1977). Tear This World Up is Campbell's debut for Delmark Records and a sizzling set of funky blues served up Chicago-style.
Campbell plays wild, open-ended guitar solos that swing hard and stay true to a down home blues feeling. His sound is enhanced with plenty of reverb and vibrato, reminiscent of Johnny "Guitar" Watson, especially on the disc's two instrumental tracks, "It's So Easy" and "All Nite." The latter, a remake of a 45 Campbell recorded in the 60s, is an ultra-hip jump bluesone of many on the recordingfeaturing the solid boogie piano playing of Karl "Little Daddy" Outten.
The guitarist pays tribute to his friend, and fellow West Side innovator, the late Magic Sam on Sam's "Easy Baby" and "Love Me With a Feeling." Here Campbell digs in deep to capture the emotional qualities of Sam's signature guitar and vocal styling. Campbell also pays homage to another giant of Chicago blues past, Howlin' Wolf, on Wolf's 12/8 grinder "My Last Affair."
Straight-forward shuffles like "Tie Your Time Up" and "Vibrations in the Air" showcase Campbell's comforting vocal delivery; a warm growl with the occasional falsetto and drawn-out moan. These qualities give credence to his story telling lyrics which offer first-hand accounts of the life of a seasoned blues musician.
The tight horn section of trumpeter Chuck Parrish, tenor saxophonist Sam Burckhardt and baritone saxophonist Juli Wood bring a punchy vibe to a handful of tunes. Drummer Marty Binder and bassist Dario Golliday keep each groove tight and crisp, rolling along with ease. The rhythm section shines bright on the syncopated funk of "Care."
The disc closes with the autobiographical acoustic track "Bluesman." Here Campbell recites an incomparable list of legendary musicians he's been associated with. With or without such an impressive resume, Tear This World Up offers proof of Campbell being a living blues master.
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).