Tremendous review of Blueberry Pie by the Starlite Campbell band by Gecko for Metronome Magazine, Boston
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.