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. For the past eleven years he has been singing with the folk duo Celtic Krystal and more recently formed Robin Campbell’s Celtic Mashup to provide the music and the Craic. 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. Robin attended Jordanhill College School. 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 latter, attending the James Watt College in Greenock, but never quite left the quay! 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, showboat 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, this ‘chapter’ 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 venues 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 covers bands, 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 corporate functions and weddings. A musical partnership was then established with Andy trading as Solid Silver Productions. The partnership provided bespoke opera and event production. In 2009 Robin established a folk group with Adrian Boddy (Fiddle) and Krystal Freya Munn (Fiddle). The Solid Silver partnership was dissolved in 2013 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. 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 trio.
Adrian left Celtic Krystal in 2015.
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.
2018 – Robin’s back! Well has not really been away as the gigs kept happening – when he was fit enough. This period saw an Oscar-winning performance of ‘thank yous’ to the NHS, my wife, family, friends, Krystal, and all who gave him support and care over the past 4/5 years. 2018’s a busy year with lots of new material coming to the fore. JazzUp has really taken off at Club 85 in Hitchin.
2019 – The year got off to a great start with four Burns’ Suppers and Paddy’s Day celebrations. The longest gig ever in his 52 years of gigging. A two-hour afternoon set then a five-hour evening set at The Vic in Hitchin was the pinnacle of my singing stamina endurance test for an ageing Wild Rover! July 2019 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!
News of the year is that Krystal is expecting a baby in 2020.
Time for New Year Resolutions… again… and a new band project – Robin Campbell’s Celtic Mashup!
After two Burns’ nights with Celtic Krystal and one Irish Night with Celtic Mashup in March 2020 came to an abrupt close with Covid-19. The Pandemic.
Celtic Krystal is ‘resting’ with the birth of Krystal’s new daughter Ayla. Well, ‘resting’ might not be the correct description for motherhood!
A new year and unfortunately the pandemic is still with us. Thinking positively that live music will return in 2021 Celtic Krystal and Celtic Mashup are now taking bookings for gigs in 2021… Depending on the Government restrictions and the safety of musicians and audience.