Starlite Campbell Band ‘Blueberry Pie’ (2017) Review
‘Blueberry Pie’ is a tasty collection of all-original tracks by UK newcomers Starlite Campbell Band. Together husband and wife team Simon Campbell (guitar & vocals) and Suzy Starlite (bass & vocals) penned the tracks and they anchor the band. Simon is a British Blues Awards nominee and Suzy has performed with Megiddo. Keyboardist Johnny Henderson’s experience includes performing with Robben Ford, Matt Schofield & Otis Rush. Drummer Steve Gibson has backed Van Morrison, Chris Farlowe, Larry Garner & Jack Bruce. Danny Boy Sanchez plays harmonica and rounds out the band. This 2017 release propels the talents of these well-seasoned musicians.
‘Blueberry Pie’ is dominated by strong guitar & keyboard runs and melodic vocals. The incredible sound, reminiscent of the 1960s Blues scene, is complemented with driving bass and drum lines. The record includes just the right mix of ballads and shakers to keep you moving. This is a must to add to any record collection. You’ll play the tracks over and over to soak in the Starlite Campbell Band interpretation of the Blues!
The only five star Blues review in the March/April edition of the mighty Rock 'n Reel Magazine by Morgan Hogarth... Amazing!!!
For their debut release, Blueberry Pie, husband and wife team of Suzy Starlite (bass and vocals) and Simon Campbell (guitar and vocals) set out to rediscover the sounds of the 60s British blues and r’n’b ‘invasion’ – no mean feat given that this was delivered by artists of the calibre of Clapton, Bruce and Mayall. Yet in attempting this, they not only succeeded, but also created a terrific disc that may well become a modern classic.
‘Walkin’ Out The Door’ clearly has its roots in both Booker T’s Hammond B3 groove and Sonny Boy’s ‘Help Me’, but Clapton’s influences are also to the fore in Campbell’s guitar contribution. ‘Cry Over You’ could have been a Peter Green original, such is its intensity, while the title track is a sweet acoustic song that underscores the band’s versatility.
All eleven tracks are originals and the additional musicians in the form of drummer Steve Gibson, keyboard maestro Jonny Henderson and guest harpist, Danny Boy Sanchez, are simply superb. The soulful dance track ‘You’re So Good For Me’ sets the feet tapping, before gentle album closer ‘Thrill You’, as its title would suggest, pays homage to B.B. King, with Campbell’s fretwork again reminiscent of the great man.
Starlite Campbell Band – Blueberry Pie – CD – Supertone Records
The Starlite Campbell Band featuring Suzy Starlite on bass, vocals and Simon Campbell on guitars, percussion, vocals have been on a blues-love-journey to be entitled “From The Isle Of Man To Valencia Or Back To The UK”.
Their first encounter in 2009 was at the isle and in 2014 they moved partly to the beautiful, sunny city in Spain where they run their own studio, besides their other main spot in the UK. Both are well-acknowledged musicians and singer/songwriters in the UK folk-scene. Suzy had been member of Meggido and Trade. Scotsman Simon started with hard-rockers Whitefire and was a member by his consecutive career in The Method & The Disciples. Finally in 2017 here it is their first rousing & common release Blueberry Pie to set your dreams, creativity free by closed eyes.
“Walkin’ Out The Door” as opener will immediately put a positive, magical spell on you. It can be described by sound-mix “The Doors Jammin’ With The Early Fleetwood Mac”! Suzy demonstrates by her groovy bass rhythm extravagances what fiery soloist she is continuing the vein of icon Jack Bruce. Simon creates by his sensitive chant a special warm-hearted vibe. His suffrage sounds like a well matured Single Scotch Highland Malt Whisky. By his dreamlike six-string solos he reminds very much of a Peter Green whilst in his best days. The Hammond sound-floor contributed by Jonny Henderson is an additional spice-up.
The consecutive “I Need A Light” has a Latino spirit by cadence and is a profound bow by melodies and vocals to the iconic British Blues Masters and Bands. The SCB manifest by “You’re So Good For Me” next that they can play also hellacious hot and dynamite-heavy blues-rock. Campbell is the dervish on slide-guitar and kicks ass by jam with Lady Starlite and keyboarder Henderson.
“Cry Over You” is a slow blues-ballad top title and the song of maestro Simon. He lets his guitar to hoodoo you the melodious style and his sensitive chant is intensifying the ambience. It will definitely stir goose-bumps by ear-blast.
The title song “Blueberry Pie” is the U.S. Southern inspired hymn intensified by a spiritual gospel flair. Over The Rainbow & A Perfect Dream***** Suzy seduces by her sweet vocals on “Guilty” as slow-blues. The whining dobro slide-solo by Simon is heatin’ it up.
“Empire” is the hard & heavy rockin’ and reelin’ blues-rocker. The SCB performs hell of a thunderous loud-blast highlight! A song ideal to be played on the highway, specially on Route 66. By “Shimmy” every band-artist is granted a spot by a virtuoso solo.
The Starlite Campbell Band contributes “Thrill You” as grand-final. Chicago melts into Memphis-Blues. Simon lets his guitar do the talkin’ in honor to the immortal Riley B.B. King. Mister Campbell did additionally hell of a job as record producer. Each song was produced in sensational sound, aligned to each song-atmosphere and –mood.
BP is more than a standard blues-cd taking you on a sound-experience to retro blues with a modern poignancy and to both continents, Europe and the U.S. As extraordinary culmination there is the tantalizing songwriting.
Blueberry Pie – A starry & hot recommendation for all music devotees, not only blues-heads!
Starlite Campbell Band – Magical Blues-Love-Celebrators*****
Starlite Campbell is a UK outfit fronted by Suzy Starlite and partner Simon Campbell, and Blueberry Pie is an album that has been proving particularly popular with UK radio jocks while gaining significant airplay and acclaim throughout most of Europe. The 11 tracks featured are all originals and draw deeply on the band-leaders’ blues backgrounds, to full effect.
Much of the material has a decidedly British sound and vibe, with echoes of earlier blues music allies such as Georgie Fame, Stevie Winwood, the Animals and a raft of traditional, old-school blues bands that helped lead the blues revolution and return it to its original US roots.
The opening track, “Walkin’ Out the Door,” features soaring B3 organ work and finely-honed fretwork with the immediately familiar feel of Booker T’s old R&B standard, “Green Onions.” Starlite herself is a powerful bassist with a hugely enjoyable grip of laying down a rock-solid backbeat that at times spills out exuberantly to highlight her own ability and drive the tracks forward. Campbell works hard, consistently ringing the changes in pace and pitch with positively pitched fretwork that is always notable but never overpowering or distracting.
Blueberry Pie is one of those albums that comes as something of a pleasant surprise with a rich vein of old, warmly welcome ’60s-style R&B at its molten core.
Tremendous review of Blueberry Pie by the Starlite Campbell band by Gecko for Metronome Magazine, Boston (printed edition only and reproduced with kind permission). Why not subscribe!!!
Starlite Campbell Band: Blueberry Pie.
Out of nowhere, UK and Spain to be exact, we get this wonderful blues record that we always wanted to hear.
“Walkin’ Out the Door” opens with a traditional blues feel that you recognize instantly due to a well-known chord progression but which features original words and some nifty touches. It’s anything but paint by numbers. Here singer and guitarist Simon Campbell voice has some Van Morrison intonations, but with a much smoother delivery. The accent is very mid-Atlantic. The track has mainstream pop appeal with a lot of hooks and a satin polish.
“You’re So Good For Me” has a very uplifting tone. This is then followed by the rueful “Cry Over You,” which gets a few bursts of Hammond organ and a soulful guitar solo to round it off. “Say What You Want” then works up a raunchy feel with a tasty harp to push the envelope making it a true rocker in this varied ensemble.
The title track has more of a gospel sound to it yet accented with honky - tonk pedal steel guitar. Bassist Suzy Starlite then has a go at the vocals on “Guilty” for a very up close and personal performance, again embellished with Hammond organ and a killer guitar solo. The band rocks out again on “Empire” which has a shuffle beat section before getting funky. There’s a message too.
In all these tunes, there’s a granite low end from the bass that should encourage you to listen to this record from a proper stereo, not just a laptop. This record works due to the band’s emphasis on the well crafted songs without any of the musos showboating while having a bit of fun pushing the keyboards on the “Shimmy” jam, bringing out more emotion and a playful human touch.
“Thrill You” has Campbell getting soulful once again, this time with all the trimmings. Overall, the band are altered by a very professional production that is carefully balanced on one hand yet gives you an atmosphere of being in your own living room without being intrusive or bringing stale tobacco smoke along.