ThirtySix Review by Blues in the NorthWest
Huge thanks to Grahame from Blues in the NorthWest for this cracking review!
Guitarist, singer and writer Simon Campbell has been in the music industry since the 1970′s when a student, as a member of various bands and also an in-demand session man. In 2008 he relocated to the Isle of Man and became involved in the flourishing Manx music scene, leading to this, “ThirtySix”, his first solo offering.
Campbell is a tasteful player and very good singer, and the 12 tracks here are all self-penned, bar lyrics from Michael Brabbin on one track, and vary from out-and-out rockers to some Steely Dan-tinged tunes and blues influences. The album was recorded at the quaintly titled Gracieland Studios, near Rochdale, which are partly-owned by Lisa Stansfield, and produced by Campbell and Stephen Boyce-Buckley.
The opening “I Like It Like That” is a driving rocker with some powerful guitar work and tough vocal, and is followed by the funky “Preacher Of Love” . . . again in with a rocky feel and with some sweet wah-wah guitar from Campbell. The excellent “Misgivings” seems very inspired by Messrs. Becker and Fagan from Steely Dan, with its jazzy tinges and lovely brass and keyboards and again fine guitar playing.
The slow blues of “Still Got Time To Be My Baby” takes the pace down, with again lovely performances from his fellow players . . . too numerous to mention here . . . and the man himself; “Brother” is a melodic rocker that rides on a nice guitar hook, before another swerve on the short and swirling folky instrumental “As Beautiful As You”, showing his equal prowess on acoustic guitar . . . it’s reminiscent of Gordon Giltrap at his peak.
Elsewhere “Give Me The Reason” has a nice smooth groove to it; “Island Of Rust” ups the pace again and is another driving rocker, with the emphasis on melody again. He returns to Steely Dan territory again for the fine “Let It Roll”. The atmospheric and stripped down “All I Have Left” ends the album, just Campbell’s plaintive and emotive vocal and acoustic guitar for most of the song with an electric climax . . . a lovely end to an enjoyable release.Grahame Rhodes.