John Campbell left an indelible mark on the world that transcends his recordings.� People remember the man as much for his live performances as they do for the CDs that bear his name. Some fans say that the recordings don�t even come close to capturing the experience of his live shows. Alone or in front of a band, he played with a confidence and power that was unforgettable. His songs were expressions of inner demons and painful experiences. His voice seemed haunted by pain and woe. Dressed in black and wearing his mojos for additional power, he looked the part of a voodoo bluesman. The combination was intimidating and intense.
But, there was a lighter side to John Campbell. He was an amazingly gifted acoustic guitarist who could recreate the authentic sounds of Lightnin Hopkins, Elmore James, or John Lee Hooker. And despite references to the hardness of life, his music was upbeat and in some sense hopeful. He lived life without apologizing for who he was and his music seemed to echo that philosophy. Though his songs were often dark, he considered them exorcisms.
People lucky enough to speak with him and photograph him got to see and know a gentle and friendly man. His friends were and still are protective and loyal. I think both sides of this brilliant artist can be seen in the photos below.
Dolly Fox-Campbell has graciously contributed a few personal photos from her private collection. These photos show John with family and friends. A separate page has been created for these personal moments from John's life.
Photo used with permission.Photo � 2004 John Allison
More great photos
This photo was contributed by John, Sr. and Ellen CampbellPhoto � Billy Bueto 2004
Promo photo contributed by Mike McNamara. Mike has contributed a few other pieces of John Campbell memorabilia.Photo used with permission.Photo � Brian Ashley White