Peter Campbell – Rear View Mirror


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SKU: TN2551-91 Category:


My first two albums were released in 1975 and 1980. The first, Of Time and its Distance, was recorded in Brisbane and released by Trinity Records. The second, Across the Border, was recorded at The Hen House, in Blue Hill, Maine, USA. The producer was Noel Paul Stookey (Paul of Peter, Paul & Mary fame). In 1998, after a long musical pause (a fella has to earn a living!) I got back to the stage with the release of this double album, ‘Rear View Mirror’, a serious effort to rekindle audiences and begin the process of getting exposure for the new music that was building up with nowhere to go. This double CD presents a concert recorded in 1983 (LIVE) and, on the second CD (STUDIO), highlights from the first two albums. Whilst old work, the music has its place, speaking a kind of ‘musical Esperanto’ that I believe still speaks of the truth.


CD review by Tony Smith

TN161 Feb 24


Peter Campbell has certainly been writing songs for long enough to have a retrospective.

Early in his career, he had an association with the legendary US folk group, Peter, Paul and Mary.

The trio recorded his ‘Wild Places’ and Paul produced Campbell’s second album.

Since, there have been many strong compositions.

Campbell’s website notes his commitment to causes such as nuclear disarmament and the environment.

The two CDs here are a ‘Live’ and ‘Retrospective Studio Set’.

As such the album provides an excellent sample of Peter Campbell’s work.

The ‘Live’ CD has 16 tracks: ‘Once Upon A Time’, ‘Hammer and Nails’, Get Up and Go’, ‘The Breakfast Song’, ‘Only the Traces’, ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’, ‘If Love Has Its Way’, ‘Blue Hill’, ‘The Haying Song’, ‘Waiting on the Weather’, ‘Deep River Blues’, ‘One Last Wild River’, ‘In the Giving’, ‘Hot Water’, ‘Then the Quail Came’ and ‘Wild Places’.

The ‘Studio Set’ has 14 tracks recorded at Brisbane, Erskineville or Maine, USA: ‘Let Me Ride’, ‘The Light Stays On’, ‘Too Much of Nothing’, ‘Bowdio’, ‘Only the Traces’, ‘No More High’, ‘People’, ‘Wild Places’, ‘Dangerous Changes’, ‘Isn’t She Lovely Now’, ‘On the Run’, ‘Calm, ‘Then the Quail Came’ and ‘Across the Border’.

It is not surprising that there is a little repetition, but ‘Wild Places’, ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ and ‘Then the Quail Came’ are worth a second listening.

Indeed, ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ has perhaps the best guitar riffs of all these tracks.

Peter does a couple of Dylan covers as well as songs by Michael Blanchard, Ross Nobel, Pete Seeger and Dave Mallet, and a Doc Watson arrangement.

Otherwise, this is all Campbell’s own creative work.

Across the various tracks, Campbell plays 6 and 12 string guitars, whistle, banjo and percussion and is the vocalist.

He is supported by Gary Crees (keyboards and more), Lawrie Huxley (vocals), Roger Hanlon (bass), Doug Campbell (percussion, vocals), Des De Plooy (drums), Brian Inglis (organ), Rob McMurray (drums), Denny Bouchard (keyboards), Joe England (drums), Tommy Harris (electric guitar), Dick Kniss (acoustic bass), John Payne (sax, clarinet, recorder), Karla Thibodeau and Noel Stookey (vocals) and Michael Haughton (sax, clarinet, recorder, flute and vocals).

Campbell also thanks for production and encouragement, Warren Barnett, Noel Stookey and Michael Haughton.

Campbell has a light, gentle, smooth and true voice which has changed little over time.

Perhaps the lightness of his voice is one reason that the woodwinds sound so good as backing for most of these tracks.

Variety occurs in ‘Dangerous Changes’, funky with saxophone opening, ‘On the Run’, banjo and country feel, and ‘No More High’ with its washing tide.

Perhaps because it is in a slightly lower key, I really enjoyed ‘Only the Traces’, and ‘Then the Quail Came’ is an outstanding song of ecological importance.

Campbell says of this album that it is a kind of ‘brain-dump’.

It is meant to ‘clear the head and make the space to get to know the newborns squawking in the nursery’.

It seems that new songs are pushing through and wanting to flourish.

We can expect they will have the vigour and endurance of their predecessors.

Peter Campbell’s songs might be in a laid back style, but they are always tuneful and based on lyrics that are deeply felt.

The sincerity shines through.


Additional information

Weight .130 kg
Dimensions 21 × 15 × 1.0 cm


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