"Such song variation reinforces the fact no number is ever played the same way twice live, with each Starlite Campbell Band performance a unique and high-energy experience." | Ross Muir - FabricationsHQ
Starlite Campbell Band live albums are like your local bus service (in this case the blues line, natch); you wait ages for one to appear then two of the buggers turn up in quick succession.
Following the neat and tidily selected song choice of the earlier in the year Live! release (featuring a number of songs from Simon Campbell’s earlier/ debut solo album Thirtysix – which is fair enough, many of Campbell’s solo ditties deserve a second/ live hearing) comes the sequel, the rather obviously titled Live! 2
A companion to the first live album in every way (think a double album issued in two separate instalments) Live! 2 is collated from the same shows (gigs from 2018, 2019 and 2021, as recorded in Bury and Oldham) and features, alongside husband & wife duo Simon Campbell (vocals, guitars) and Suzy Starlite (bass, vocals), drummer Steve Gibson and keys player Jonny Henderson (keyboardist Christian Madden features on one song*).
It also, again, borrows from Simon Campbell’s solo repertoire (four from Thirtysix and one from the accompanying EP), thus avoiding the all-too-easy trick of just featuring songs that lean to the latest, or recently released, studio album.
In the case of the latter that would be the band’s excellent multi-styled album The Language of Curiosity, from which only the title track* features (60s pop meets Blondie with Campbell & Starlite in perfect vocal harmony).
There’s also three songs from the band’s tasty (pun intended) Blueberry Pie debut album, including the Booker T/ 'Green Onions' styled groove of 'Walkin’ Out the Door' (with thick sounding, psychedelic styled solo from Simon Campbell mid-song) and old-school blues rocking muscle of 'You’re So Good For Me' (bolstered by some bubbly bass lines from Suzy Starlite and a cool and groovin’ Hammond solo from Jonny Henderson).
The other Blueberry Pie song, the dreamy melodic blues of 'I Need a Light,' segues from Thirtysix tune 'Brother,' which also featured on the first live album – on the latter 'Brother' extended to an eight minute workout with guitar funky instrumental break but here, in slightly shorter form, it sets up (via a rolling bass line) the aforementioned 'I Need a Light.'
Such song variation reinforces the fact no number is ever played the same way twice live, with each Starlite Campbell Band performance a unique and high-energy experience.
There’s also a two-song classic covers medley that works very well – the iconic intro of the 'Peter Gunn Theme' (here with an almost angular guitar attack) quickly leads to a vibrant and brash 'Shakin’ All Over.'
Of the Simon Campbell solo songs on display, highlights include the balshy, blues rock swagger of 'I Like it Like That' and contrasting slow blues number (and Simon Campbell showcase) 'Still Got Time to Be My Baby,' which does its best impression (in musical pathos and lyrical approach) of 'Need Your Love so Bad' (no bad comparison, let’s be honest).
Starlite Campbell Band Live! and now Starlite Campbell Band Live! 2
Doubling the performance and enjoyment value – and twice the fun.
Ross Muir - FabricationsHQ