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ALEX CAMPBELL "At The Tivoli Gardens" Storyville Records 1025706

Long before the Tartan Army hit the European headlines as - mostly - peaceful ambassadors for Scotland, the goodwill trail was blazed by a folk singer. Alex Campbell, with trusty guitar, denims and cowboy boots and a range of songs from Scots traditional through to contemporary folk, first hit Denmark in 1965. A professional musician for nine years, and still finding it incredible that folk singing could be a career, he eventually settled in that country and died there in 1987.

The German Storyville label chose to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary last year by releasing this concert performance on CD. Recorded at Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens in 1967, it features Alex on guitar and vocals accompanied by Cy Nicklin and Robert Lelievre on guitars and Leif Sjoberg on bass.

Perhaps Campbell was getting a message over with this performance, for despite his vast repertoire of traditional songs this is strictly contemporary folk. There's songs by the new establishment (or soon to be) of the day, with fine versions of Dylan's Tom Thumb's Blues, MacColl's First Time Ever, Paxton's Cindy's Crying and Simon's He Was a Most Peculiar Man and Campbell also cultivates his reputation as the freewheeling drifter with several Road Songs, including his own song - the only one on the album - Long Gone From Home.

If ever a man deserved the title of European Legend it was Alex Campbell and - put simply - this is a time capsule recording of what he did and how he did it. With excellent sleeve notes by Ken Hunt, this is recommended, especially to those who knew there was more to the Sixties than Beatlemania.

Alan McIntosh Brown

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This album was reviewed in Issue 53 of The Living Tradition magazine.