Robin's performances are as fresh and relevant as ever and full of energy.
Robin Campbell – Scottish singer, guitarist, songwriter – teller of a good yarn or two. Hearing Robin perform Scots-Irish folk songs opens up a door to a heritage of journeymen, rogues, poets, and the quiet heroism of everyday folk.
JAZZUP with HORACE PANTER
Date : October 28, 2023
Time : 7:45 pm - 11:00 pm
Location : Club 85 - Hitchin
Rantin' Rovin' Robin
Robin’s Rantin’ started in Glasgow’s west end on 20th May 1948 living 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! In 1964 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 got Rovin’ or even left the quay! Working for the old GPO, the sixties rocked, and Robin 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. 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 1971 Caledonia Music released their first album Parcel o’ Rogues, then in 1972 Decca Beltona Sword released the album ‘Flower of Scotland’ followed by in 1974 Lismor release ‘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’ of the story 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 in November 1977 and finding the old folk and club 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.
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.
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. This put to bed the school reports of ‘daydreams and could do better !’
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. The Solid Silver partnership was dissolved in 2013 as Andy ventured out to set up a new music school in Surrey and Robin stayed on the road with more live music. Over many years Robin has provided music for Burns’ Suppers and his delivery of the Address to the Haggis is renowned and much on demand. In 2004 Robin released an album of Robert Burns’ poems and songs. Robert Burns – Unplugged. Nearly all the songs are unaccompanied and the intention of the album was for folks to use at family Burns’ Nights.
In 2009 Robin established a folk group with Adrian Boddy (Fiddle) and Krystal Freya Munn (Fiddle)
Returning to his Celtic roots, Robin regularly performs with Hertfordshire based group Celtic Krystal. It’s gone the full circle – nearly! Certainly, fifty shades of the Glasgow days of ‘Lomond Folk’ with traditional songs and the fiddle on jigs and reels. In 2014 the trio released their first CD of traditional music, ‘We Danced in the Morning’.
After six years, Adrian left Celtic Krystal in 2015.
2014 saw Robin’s fiftieth year making music.
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 UK 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 released a new Celtic Krystal CD. Duncan Ivory (bass) and Dicky Deegan (Uilleann Pipes and whistles) 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 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.
2019 – The year got off to a great start with Burns’ Suppers and Paddy’s Day celebrations. The longest gig ever in his 55 years of gigging. A two-hour afternoon set then a five-hour evening set at The Vic in Hitchin was the pinnacle of his 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!
Time for New Year Resolutions in 2020 with Krystal taking a break for the birth of her daughters. A new band project was established. Robin Campbell’s Celtic MashUp with Matt Waters on fiddle, Dicky Deegan on Uillean Pipes and Whistles, Duncan Ivory on Bass Ukulele, Lynden Campbell on Bodhran and yours truly on vocals and Guitar.
Unfortunately, after two Burns’ nights with Celtic Krystal and only one Irish Night with Celtic MashUp, in March 2020, it all came to a grinding halt with the Corona virus, Covid-19, pandemic
A new year 2021 with the pandemic still ‘hovering’ around, but Celtic MashUp and Celtic Krystal are on the road again making music.
In 2022 Celtic MashUp took to the studio and recorded a first EP ‘In Session’ available on Spotify and other platforms.
2022 saw Krystal’s return to music and it was great to be making music in the duo.
2023 looks to be a crazy, exciting year ahead. Loads of craic. Celtic MashUp are heading for gigs in Yorkshire, Scotland and Ireland. Recording in Newry and gigs in Belfast plus all the local Paddy’s Day shindigs in March. Lots of news coming up !