THE SHORT STORY
Robin Campbell’s folk beginnings were formed with the Glasgow duo ‘Lomond Folk’ in 1967. Following the death of singing partner Donald Brown in 1977, Robin continued a solo career in Scotland and since the mid 80’s in England. Most recently, with folk duo ‘Celtic Krystal’. For life’s full drama, please read on………
THE LONG STORY – 1948
Robin was born and lived in the west end of Glasgow, on Dumbarton Road, just a few hundred yards from the Clydeside shipyards, found kicking around the lanes and tenement closes, riding his bike in the tram lines, delivering papers and milk – the usual sort of stuff! Robin attended Jordanhill College School. It was in Primary 2 that he played his first piano recital to the rest of the primary department. Not a particularly memorable performance of ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm’, plus the soft and sustaining pedals were well out of reach, but the classes applauded, he had ‘gotten the buzz’.
Being brought up in a family dedicated to classical music, Robin studied piano and violin, as well as receiving vocal tuition from Winnie Busfield of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, but swinging 60s put paid to any classical career! Robin left school and soon found himself playing in several Glasgow bands. Living a few hundred yards from the River Clyde you either found a job building ships or going to sea. Robin chose the later, attending the James Watt College in Greenock, but he never quite made it past the Renfrew Ferry!! Working for the old GPO, the sixties rocked and he met Joyce, his first wife. She still is!
1968 brought a new direction in music for Robin. It was the start of ‘Lomond Folk’. Robin teamed up with Donald Brown, a fellow singer, and the duo soon established their name on the Scottish folk scene. For many years they ran the Black Bull Folk Club in Milngavie and by 1971 had released their first album ‘Parcel o’ Rogues’. This was the start of gigging, touring and sharing the stage with many ‘famous folkies’. The ‘Lomond Folk’ years were unique with concerts, folk clubs, show boat cruises, television appearances and radio. In 1972 Decca released the album ‘Flower of Scotland’.In 1974 Lismor released ‘Blended Scotch’.With the emergence of commercial radio, they were regularly featured, and often shared the ‘wee sma’ oors’ on New Year’s Day with Radio Clyde’s Colin MacDonald. In 1976 Robin opened a retail shop, ‘Strings & Things’ in Crow Road, in the west end of Glasgow selling musical instruments, accessories, vinyl albums and Scottish Crafts. Sadly it was short lived as in 1977 Donald tragically died after a gig in Aberfeldy. Painfully for Robin, ‘the curtain came down’ on Lomond Folk.
After a difficult year coming to terms with the death of Donald and finding the old haunts an overwhelming experience, Robin chose a solo career on the Scottish tourist circuit. He also continued to compere the Clyde and Loch Lomond Showboat cruises working with many top folk and jazz artists. In these years he released solo albums “Scottish Holiday” and “‘Rantin’ Rovin’ Robin”. During this period he established Occasion Recordings & Publications Ltd for future recording work. After 8 years Robin moved to England with his wife, son and daughter. It was time to take stock – pastures new.
Robin moved to England in 1986 and had a ‘late development MBA; BA.’ with the Open University, while working at a very sensible 9-5 job with BT plc in London. There was no doubt that the ‘weans’ life was passing him by with the ‘gigging nights’ lifestyle. He therefore decided to take a musical ‘rest’ – but only for a few ‘bars’! It didn’t last long.
In the new millennium Robin took the opportunity to return to full-time music, with both the promotion, management and recording of bands. Playing music, Robin teamed up with Andy Hart, a singer and keyboard player, to form Solid Silver playing covers at functions and weddings. A musical production partnership then evolved with Andy trading as Solid Silver Productions. The partnership provided bespoke opera and event production and pulled together much of the experience gained from the previous 40 years in Live Music. However, in 2013 the partnership was amicably dissolved as Andy ventured out to set up a new music school in Surrey and Robin continued with more live music. During this period Robin returned to his Celtic roots to enjoy making folk music with like-minded musicians. Robin regularly performs with his Hertfordshire based group Celtic Krystal. A folkgroup established in 2009 with Adrian Boddy (Fiddle) and Krystal Woodbridge (Fiddle). It’s gone the full circle – nearly! Certainly shades of the Glasgow days of ‘Lomond Folk’ with traditional songs and the fiddles on jigs and reels. Robin’s vocal set is as fresh as ever and regularly entertains audiences in venues around the UK and abroad. 2014 saw Robin’s fiftieth year making music. ‘We Danced in the Morning’ CD of traditional music was released by the trio.
Adrian left Celtic Krystal in 2015. Robin and Krystal continued as a folk duo, occasionally introducing guest musicians as and when required. Duncan Ivory (Bass) and Dicky Deegan (Whistles & Uilleann Pipes) make for new and exciting arrangments of the traditional tunes.
In November 2016 Robin and Krystal started the production of a new Celtic Krystal CD. Duncan and Dicky came on board to join the crew for this recording at the SoundArc Shefford Studio. After sound engineer Alex Lewis completed the mixing, we were fortunate to have London based Pete Maher master the tracks. Pure Music of Manchester completed the manufacturing process for the 8th.September 2017 release. Eilidh Price provided the design and illustration work for the CD inserts and the marketing theme of the project. The new CD ‘The Silver Darlings’ is now available to download and can be purchased from the shop
Robin’s enthusiasm for jazz goes back to the 1960’s and 1970’s with regular visits to the Clarendon Bar in Glasgow and to college type traditional jazz events of that era. As a new musical project Robin teamed up with Dave Keech, a friend and professional trombone player, to establish, in 2014, JazzUP in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. These gigs are now held monthly at Club 85 with a host of top class UK and International jazz artists.
Unfortunately, during the last four years some of our gigs were interrupted, due to Robin keeping the NHS busy. Thanks to all NHS staff professionalism and skills, Robin can now look forward to getting back on the road again and celebrate his 70 years – and the 70 years of the NHS. Sincere thanks to Joyce, Douglas, Lynden, family, Krystal, friends, musicians and our ‘followers’ for love and support.
Robin’s back! Well have not really been away as the gigs kept happening when I was fit enough and the new recording ‘Silver Darlings’ finally got released. Busy year with lots of new material coming to the fore with loadsa Craic for good measure. On the JazzUp front it is really starting to take off at Club 85 in Hitchin on a monthly basis.
Busy start to the year with four Burns’ Suppers and Paddy’s Day celebrations. The longest gig ever in my 52yrs of gigging. A two hour afternoon set then a five hour evening set at The Vic in Hitchin was the pinnacle of singing stamina endurance from a Wild Rover ! This July sees my fiddling friend Krystal tying the matrimonial chord with Richard at Stonehenge. Druids beware…..