"No home should be without one" ran the old advertising slogan. It is certainly true to say that there are few homes where Folk music or Scottish music is loved that are without an LP by Alex Campbell, and some fans boast of having a dozen or more. Probably in the whole world there is no complete collection of Campbell records. After all he has made over sixty in half a dozen countries.
Undeniably a legend in his own lifetime Campbell is the greatest personality thrown up by the Folk revival. Seemingly completely extrovert with his loud guffaw and raucous interruptions, he is in fact deeply introspective, and amazingly insecure. If there is not a "House Full" sign up when he appears in a Folk club his immediate reaction is that his popularity must be waning. In fact the reverse is the case, and usually the organiser has forgotten to advertise his appearance.
Glasgow-born, Alex left a Civil Service job to study at the Sorbonne in Paris. He found that people liked to hear him sing so when he ran out of funds he tried singing in the streets and almost to his amazement found that he made a lot of money. Soon he was singing in restaurants and recording his first LP's. Time Magazine did a feature article about him headed "Le roi du quartier Latin".
From then on it is a complete success story. He has appeared on every major concert stage in this country. He has been seen on Television from almost every region. He broadcasts regularly, but the backbone of his work and almost his life is the folk clubs. He travels hundreds sometimes thousands of miles during a week. One night he may be in the Kelvin Hall, Glasgow playing to an audience of thousands and the next in a folk club in a Sussex village where with every inch of space taken they can only squeeze in about eighty people. Asked why he does it he will reply "The clubs have always been good to me. I'll always be available to them".
It was a little hard to keep to that when he had his own Television series "My Kinda Folk" from the Grampian station in Aberdeen, but by constant use of aeroplanes when possible or more often, slow overnight trains he managed to fulfill all his commitments.
About this record: It is some time since Alex recorded an album of purely Scottish songs. Although limiting himself to the music of one country he has not limited himself to style. Here are heroic songs, plaintive songs, tragic songs, and throughout all that which is Alex Campbell — warmth and humanity.