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Philip ‘Seth’ Campbell Live

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Future Yard, Birkenhead, 18 October 2023

https://youtu.be/5WCsz0rP9m4

Back in the late 90s I was given a single called ‘Hope Faith And Me’ by a young singer/songwriter called Phil Campbell. It was one of the most moving songs I’ve ever heard and sung by one of the most beautiful, distinctive and expressive voices. Not long after this website was born and one of my first tasks was to track down the artist after having acquired his debut record (after which both artist and record were dropped by the EMI record company). It took a couple of years before I was able to locate and interview him. He revealed a story not untypical of an artist largely ignored by the broadcast and print media despite his major talent, and a record that I still count as one of my most loved of all time.

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Campbell has travelled a rocky personal road but in the process has released many great records from several groups he has been associated with in addition to several solo releases. I first witnessed a performance by him with his brilliant 3-piece band White Buffalo at the Band On The Wall in Manchester and then again much later with his very successful band The Temperance Movement again in Manchester. One of Campbell’s problems has been that he shares the same name with another artist, a Welsh rock musician, best known as the guitarist in Motörhead from 1984 to 2015 (who always come first in Internet searches). Probably for that reason, as a solo artist, he now calls himself Philip ‘Seth’ Campbell.

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Campbell’s latest (Scottish) group is called The Byson Family (a throwback to White Buffalo perhaps…) who have also recently released an excellent record. With so many great records and songs under his belt, in addition to his latest solo record CITY LIGHTS, he has an enormous cache of material to feature in shows.

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But before he mounts the stage with his keyboardist and guitarist another Scottish singer/songwriter provides very able and sensitive support. Alice Faye possesses the most fragile voice that emits distinctive sounds that place her apart. Occasionally accompanied by a guitarist during her set, from behind her keyboard she enchanted an audience of strangers who rapidly became friends. Her songs, based mostly on personal romantic moments, possessed strong melodies and touching sentiments. She also conversed easily and humorously with her audience which added something special to her set.

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I’ve waited too long to experience another evening with Campbell and I have to admit to some trepidation as to his personal state and performance ability. I should not have worried. Over many years I have witnessed hundreds of performance of which few live long in my memory in a very special way. In this bijou and excellent venue in a quiet backwater of Birkenhead was to provide another.

“Campbell is one of the most eminently gifted singers of his generation”

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