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
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’.
Robin studied piano and violin, as well as receiving vocal tuition from Winnie Busfield of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, but the swinging 60’s put paid to any classical career! Robin 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 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 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 his 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 in a very sensible 9-5 job with BT plc in London. There was no doubt that the ‘weans’ lives’ were 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 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 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. In 2013 the partnership was dissolved as Andy ventured out to set up a new music school in Surrey and Robin continued with more live music.
Returning to his Celtic roots, Robin regularly performs with his Hertfordshire based group Celtic Krystal. A folk group established in 2009 with Adrian Boddy (Fiddle) and Krystal Freya Munn(Fiddle). It’s gone the full circle – nearly! Certainly shades of the Glasgow days of ‘Lomond Folk’ with traditional songs and the fiddle 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 then trio.
Adrian left Celtic Krystal in 2015. Robin and Krystal continued as a folk duo, introducing guest musicians as and when required. Duncan Ivory (Bass) and Dicky Deegan (Whistles & Uilleann Pipes) make for new and exciting arrangements of the traditional tunes.
Robin’s enthusiasm for jazz, listening only(!), 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.
In November 2016 Robin and Krystal started the production of a new Celtic Krystal CD. Duncan and Dicky came on board for this recording at the SoundArc Studio in Shefford, with Alex Lewis as sound engineer and London based Pete Maher to master the tracks. Pure Music of Manchester completed the manufacturing for the 8th.September 2017 release. Eilidh Price designed the CD inserts and the marketing theme of the project. The CD ‘The Silver Darlings’ is available to download and can be purchased from the shop.
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 has really to taken off at Club 85 in Hitchin.
Busy start to the year with four Burns’ Suppers and Paddy’s Day celebrations. The longest gig ever in my 52 years 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 test for the ageing Wild Rover ! July saw my fiddling friend Krystal tying the matrimonial chord with Richard at Stonehenge. Quite an occasion to be permitted to perform in the Centre Circle of Stonehenge. Yes, we played with The Stones!