Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Eddie & Ernie / Christopher Coshea Campbell - ‘Standing At The Crossroads’ - Redux

Welcome back!

I hope you all made it through the working week in one piece and emerge the other side ready for some well earned weekend action? Unfortunately my own working week has been extended with another session at the ‘Coal Face’, the only upside to this is my two hour train commute to work affords me plenty of time to put together today’s post for you!

The regular visitors here amongst you may remember a few weeks ago I wrote a short article on the fantastic soul duo, Eddie & Ernie and their Eastern Records release, ‘Outcast’. If you missed the boat first time round you can still catch it HERE

Eddie & Ernie

A few days after the post dropped I was contacted by Eddie Campbell’s son Christopher CoShea Campbell. He interestingly told me that ‘Outcast’ had also been covered by The Animals on their 1966 album ‘Animalism’, one year after the original release in 1965 (you can catch a video featuring The Animals version HERE. This was something I’d overlooked in my research, so was thankful for him for bringing it to my attention. While in my opinion it is a good cover, The Animals version isn’t as strong as the original Eddie & Ernie cut.

From our emails I discovered that Christopher, aside from being an all round nice guy, had also followed in his fathers footsteps and was a very talented musician. He went on to tell me about a musical project he had just finished in which he had recently recorded his own version of ‘Standing At The Crossroads’. Now this happens to be one of my favourite ‘Eddie & Ernie’ 45s, their stand alone 45 on the Buddah label from 1971 in fact, so I was very keen to hear his take on his fathers record!

Christopher CoShea Campbell

On listening to Christopher’s cover, I was very pleasantly surprised! While his version veers towards the rock genre, he still manages to retain the soulfulness and overall feeling of the Eddie & Ernie version. His vocal style is very similar to that of Eddie Campbell and definitely adds to the cover.

Both 97.3 FM and WOJB FM 88.9 (U.S.A.) radio stations have been commendably playing both his and the Eddie & Ernie version back to back recently, to the point of both being requested by listeners. This is fantastic exposure for Christopher and will also hopefully introduce a new set of people to the music of Eddie & Ernie!

Christopher sent me over an MP3 of his version, as well as some great family photos to share with you today. He also took some time from his busy schedule to answer a short interview I sent him.

Ladies and Gentlemen…..Christopher Coshea Campbell!!

Describe your musical influences?

“Besides my Father, my main musical influences are Hendrix, Parliament-Funkadelic, Zeppelin, Bootsy, Bowie, early Prince, The Ohio Players, The Beatles, early Black Sabbath”

Can you share any memories of growing up around your father?

“Many times, we would be singing in the car and when I was very young, I would put on concerts in the living room for my mother and father, singing Jackson 5 songs!

I can remember when I was 4 years old, my father bought me a child size guitar for Christmas that was a replica of a Gibson Sunburst ES model. It had the F holes and it was very colourful and flashy looking!”

Christopher, Age 3 with guitar (Note the left handed playing style.

“My father would show me chords on the guitar. Even though I'm right handed, I always played the guitar left handed. So my father would try to encourage me to play right handed but after awhile, I would always switch back. My mother would tell my father "Let him be...If he feels comfortable playing it that way, then so be it.”

Christopher with his Mother & Father, Barbara & Eddie

“It was only after I saw Ace Frehley of KISS when I was 8 years old that I switched to playing right handed! That's when I really started to get into rock music.

Also when I was very little, my parents took me to the Watts Stax Festival and other concerts such as the Jackson 5 and gospel concerts. I met several known artists through my father when I was very young such as Bobby Womack and members of the Fifth Dimension. Al Green used to call my dad and I would answer the phone”.

How much of a bearing has your fathers musical background had on your own musical direction?

“I grew up in a house of music. My mother plays piano and clarinet and my father played guitar as well as bass guitar. So again, I was always surrounded by music.

When I was little, often times I would see my father playing his guitar and writing songs. I specifically remember when he wrote the song ’Bullet's Don't Have Eyes’”.

Christopher and Eddie Campbell

“Many times my father would be in the bedroom working on a song and I would go in there and watch him while he worked and very quickly, he and I always ended up singing something that he was working on. We would be in there singing for hours”.

You play all the instruments on your version of 'Standing At The Crossroads', are you self taught?

“Yes, I played all of the instruments on 'Standing at the Crossroads' as well as on all of my songs. And yes, I am self taught”.

Although your version is in a different musical style you stay fairly true to the OG both musically as well as vocally, was this an intentional homage?

“Yes, I was definitely paying tribute to my father on my version of 'Standing At The Crossroads'. Although I wanted to interject my own style into my father's song, which is what I did. The similarity in our vocals is just natural”.

Christopher playing live (Note the now different right handed playing style)

How do you feel your fathers music has been received since being played alongside your version?

“Practically everyone who has heard my version loves my father's version as well. Lisa Coleman of Wendy and Lisa told me that after hearing my father's version, she then sought after and bought other Eddie and Ernie material”.

Eddie Campbell

What are your Future Plans musically?

“Along with me writing and producing material for other artists, I am currently in the studio recording my solo album and once that is complete, I will be going out on tour”.

Do you plan to cover any more of Eddie and Ernie's tracks?

“That's possible, although I am including my version of my father's "Standing At The Crossroads" on my upcoming album”.

What is your favourite Eddie and Ernie cut?

“That's easy!...My favourite Eddie and Ernie song is 'Standing At The Crossroads'”.

Eddie & Ernie – Standing At The Crossroads – Buddah

Christopher CoShea Campbell – Standing At The Crossroads

I’d like to personally thank Christopher CoShea Campbell and his family for sharing their memories and music with us, It’s important that we keep this music that we all love alive! Thank you!

I hope you enjoy both versions of ‘Standing At The Crossroads’ as much as I have, stay safe and I’ll be back shortly with something special for you.

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