Friday, 4 May 2012

Junior Campbell - Goodbye Baby Jane / If I Call Your Name (1971)

William "Junior" Campbell quit his band, the Marmalade, at the commercial peak of their career.  Not fancying a life on the road he decided to go solo. I'll be writing about the Marmalade in more detail in a later post.

Campbell released his first single as a solo act in October 1971. 'Goodbye Baby Jane' (Deram DM344) written solely by Campbell, sounds very similar to his later output with the Marmalade, particularly the song 'Rainbow' which had reached number 3 in the UK chart the previous year.  It is a great up tempo acoustic pop tune with harmonica and slide whistle(?) that starts off with with lyrics "When the dawn breaks and the birds wake, I get up and I'm feeling fine".  The B-side is even better. 'If I Call Your Name', another acoustic number, is lyrically a great contrast to it's flipside "If I call your name, will you look the other way? and if I call again, will you say 'another day' " and has a much moodier vibe to it.  It has always reminded me of Blue Oyster Cult's 'Don't Fear The Reaper', you can even hear a cowbell clunking away at the end of the song.  Forward thinking DJ's could get away with giving this a spin at a psychedelic night and it's still reasonably cheap to pick up.

The debut solo single didn't continue the success Campbell had with the Marmalade and failed to chart.  His next single "Hallelujah Freedom" did.  These sort of things always leave me puzzled wondering how people could possibly prefer it.  It's cheesy poo to my ears but everyone loved it and it reached to number 9 in 1972. The B-side "Alright With Me" is pretty good though and sounds a bit Badfinger, so it's definitely worth the 50p it usually sells for. It's a shame Campbell decided to sing like a horny bricklayer (I'm thinking Tom Jones!) from the second single onwards, but it sold by the shit load so fair do's.

The third single "Sweet Illusion" and album "Second Time Around" really aren't my cuppa tea and I've not dared to listen to anything beyond them, so if anyone knows if Junior redeemed himself, please leave a comment.

For now, enjoy his finest two and a half minutes...

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