It was sometime in 1969 when I first met John on a trip to see my parents in Center, Texas. As soon as I arrived my little brother Joe started in on me to take him to his friend Bill�s house. After several hours of begging, I finally said okay. I drove a 1976 green MGB so off we went to �Bill�s house�. I was standing by my car talking to Joe and Bill when I looked up and saw this good looking, tall, lanky guy wearing cowboy boots, tight jeans, really short sandy blonde hair and putting on his John Lennon glasses, come out the back door, down the steps and was heading my way. That moment is forever etched in my mind. John Campbell came over to my car and we stood there and talked for hours. He invited me to come to the �shack� that night. The shack was a nice size play house or club house behind a friend�s house, way in the back down a little lane with tall pine trees all around. It was a fun place to hang out and there were a lot of people there that night doing things teenagers did then and do now, have a good time. This was not too long after the car accident where John nearly lost an eye. His pupil was a strange shape. They actually stitched his eye back together. His vision was never the same and his eye was light sensitive. He also had hundreds of stitches in his face. He just about went through the windshield. He was sitting shotgun. His mother told me when the accident happened she sat straight up in bed and knew that John was hurt.
John was 17 years old and still in high school. I was 22 and a wild child. When I heard John play that night at the Shack I was hooked. I was hooked on John and hooked on his music. John could play any instrument. John could play beautiful piano. His mother had one. One time in Center, Texas back in �69 or �70 there was a party at one of John�s friend�s house whose parents were out of town and John blew everyone away on the drums. He just got lost in them and went ballistic, everyone was shocked. John was full of surprises. I went to Center a lot after that.
John didn�t finish high school. He went to California with some friends on an adventure, someone got busted and they all came home. Listening to John recall the story was very entertaining, not only did John play guitar like no one I had ever heard, but he loved to tell stories. The only thing I remember about the California trip was that they had run out of gas and had to push the car over the California line. We all had a good laugh over that one.
John lived in Center and Shreveport and I lived in Corpus. We regularly wrote letters, talked on the phone and we visited back and forth. I spent many good times in Center and Shreveport with John, listening to him play guitar and loving him every chance I got. My brother Barron and I drove to Shreveport one Friday night from Waco, Texas, to hear John, his best friends and fellow musicians, Scooter and Stevie Ray play at a local club. John did Johnny Be Good and the crowd went crazy. He loved that song. Next day my brother Barron, John and I drove to Corpus. I drove my brother�s Mustang while he and John shot craps the whole way.
In early 1973 John came to Corpus Christi. He rode the Greyhound bus and played guitar for all who were on the bus and I�m sure knowing John everyone had a great trip. I think thats where the name Junction came from, as he looked out the window and watched the signs go by as he played.
John just kept getting better and better over the years, if that was possible. He played around Corpus for the pure enjoyment of it, a man and his guitar. I hocked jewelry to buy new strings. I worked for a lawyer. John hung out and about during the day in pawn shops picking on guitars and the local music stores picking on guitars. John was happiest when he was playing, for me, friends, neighbors, strangers. It didn�t matter to John. Times got tight and John put a band together here in Corpus. I don�t remember the details but Junction was formed and he, Tim and Satch started playing around Corpus, Rockport and the Valley. Times were good and we were young and happy. We were married November 21, 1973. The only pictures I have left are our wedding pictures and a few snap shots that I contribute to this honorable website in memory of John. John in his black cowboy boots with the silver tips, which he loved, and loaned to Freddie Fender as Freddie needed a pair of boots for gig and John offered his. John knew a lot of musicians around town from hanging out at the music stores. That was my John back in simpler times.Jerry Sue has provided some great photos!
In �75 he opened for Willie Nelson at the Ritz Theater. John and his guitar. He was spectacular. In 1975 he also had his first recording session here in Corpus with a guy named Lenny (a Yankee, and I don�t know what happened to Lenny or all the reels he had accumulated of John). The tape was simply �John Campbell� and put around town in the local record stores and music stores. If any ever sold, we never knew it. There were 8-tracks and cassettes (�cassettes� Lenny said �were the way of the future�). The tape was great and was pure John.
In the early days John didn�t sing much. He didn�t think he could sing very well. But I loved everything he did, so I kept on him and kept encouraging (I know Satch, but I loved to hear him sing).....
John always loved the blues. He would play rock and roll and whatever the crowd wanted but blues was in his heart and soul. I remember on one trip down before we were married he brought an album and it was called the Messiah. I wore that record out. It was heart wrenching guitar, (no vocals that I remember), just guitar. He loved Mohamed Ali, Houdini and Sanford & Son. John loved to be surrounded by his friends. He loved to shoot dice and did so many times with my brother Barron who claims he won all day and John won all night. He loved magic and was always learning new magic tricks and card tricks. Many nights late, he would wake me up and say �Jerry Sue pick a card any card�.... and of course I�d moan and groan, but I would always pick a card or watch the scarf disappear magically. He was fascinated by the mystical and �the other side�. One weekend we spent many hours trying to astral project. Me in one room and John in the other. We were going to meet on the roof and fly through the clouds. (Now I know it was Capt. D. who inspired that.... well it was good meditation anyway, thanks D).
John played and did a magic show for kids at the Driscoll Children�s Hospital here in Corpus. He received a very nice thank you letter from the hospital telling him how much the children enjoyed him. John had a big heart that was full of love, compassion, and a giving of himself with nothing asked in return. He would give you the shirt off his back or the boots off his feet....
In the Fall of �75 we moved to Nacogdoches. John was going to go to school and study music. Things didn�t work out up there and eventually I came back to Corpus Christi. We were both young and I�ll admit it, I was jealous, of John�s time given to others. Yes Captain D thats what all the door slamming was about, I wanted more of John for me. I guess we were divorced in �76, I never saw the papers. We were still on and off before it was final. Even after the divorce John and I stayed in touch. I went to Center and he would come down here. In the Spring of 1979 we were going to re-marry. I moved to Shreveport but things didn�t work out again so I came back to Corpus.
I married and had a son in 1983 and John married and had a daughter in Nacogdoches. In 1985 when I discovered my husband had found my pictures of John and I and had torn some up, I gathered all the ones of John and his 8-track tape and sent them to his mother in Center, Texas by general delivery. Everyone knew everyone in Center, Texas. To this day I don�t know whether she ever received the package, which was meant for John. My brother Barron, who also has a few tales to tell about John, and I wanted to go see John playing around Texas in the 80's. We were always going to go but something always came up and we never made it.
It was some time in the early 90's when I heard John on the radio. I would recognize his style anywhere. I was so elated and excited for him. I went to the local music store and there it was a sign in the Blues section �John Campbell�. I was stunned. It was One Believer. It was what John lived for.
His death hit me very hard. I cried every night for weeks after I heard that he had died. I tried to call John�s Mother in Center and there was no listing. I didn�t understand, Ellen and her husband Dr. Polk always lived in Center. I called information in Shreveport, nothing. I finally reached John Sr. in Baton Rouge. He had just returned from the funeral. He told me all about it. He said there were so many people there including the Hells Angels and it was in a huge beautiful church. He said the last time he had seen John he gave him a big hug and said �Daddy, I love you�. I didn�t even get to say �congratulations�, �I was always a believer� ..... nothing..... I felt a part of me died. John will always be with me, and you, through our memories and his music.
I wish you could have met him Tom, he would have embraced you with an open heart and brought you within his circle of sounds like no other. With his music, his magic tricks, his laughter, his stories and just being John. This was my John....... my messiah...........
Definition of Sounds: Vibrations which travel through the air or another medium and are sensed by the ear. A thing that can be heard. Music, speech, and sound effects accompanying a film or broadcast. An idea or impression conveyed by words. Emit or cause to emit sound. Utter. Convey a specified impression. Express one�s opinions loudly or forcefully.
(Hey, I don�t know where THAT came from, maybe John). - Jerry Sue Sutton Campbell Muniz