In Memoriam: Eddie C. Campbell


Eddie C. Campbell (1939–2018)

(Photo: Eddie C. Campbell Facebook page)

Eddie C. Campbell, a blues vocalist and guitarist who toured the world, died Nov. 20 at his home in Oak Park, Illinois, according to a Facebook post from his manager, Barbara Mayson. He was 79 and had suffered from heart problems.

Campbell, who was revered among fans of Chicago blues—particularly the style known as West Side blues—performed with many icons and was a successful bandleader.

The opening track on his debut album, 1977’s King Of The Jungle, was his composition “Santa’s Messin’ With The Kid,” which would later be covered by rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. Musicians on Campbell’s original version included harmonica player Carey Bell and bassist Lurrie Bell.

Other leader albums in Campbell’s discography include Let’s Pick It! (1984), Mind Trouble (1988), That’s When I Know (1994) and Gonna Be Alright (1999). Later he recorded two albums for Chicago label Delmark Records: Tear This World Up (2009) and Spider Eating Preacher (2012). The latter was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the category Traditional Blues Album.

Campbell was born on May 6, 1939, in Duncan, Mississippi, and as a child moved to Chicago with his family. His mother knew Muddy Waters and arranged for her young son, a prodigy, to sit in with the blues legend’s band.

Campbell also performed with Luther Allison, Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon and Koko Taylor. He served as a bandleader for Jimmy Reed.

Campbell relocated to Europe in the 1980s but returned to the States in 1992. In 2013, he suffered a heart attack and stroke, a devastating health event that permanently derailed his career.

Mayson’s Facebook post announcing Campbell’s death generated comments from around the world, including musicians based in Texas, Argentina and The Netherlands who had collaborated with him. DB

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February 2019
Terri Lyne Carrington
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