Blind James Campbell

Blind James Campbell

"Blind" James Campbell (born September 17, 1906) was an American blues singer and guitarist. He is mostly remembered for his 1962-1963 recording for the Arhoolie label with his Nashville Street Band.


James Campbell was born in Nashville, Tennessee on September 17, 1906. He later became known as "Blind" James Campbell after an accident at a fertilizer plant left him permanently blinded. In 1936 he formed a band and began playing folk, country, pop, jazz and blues music at parties, dances and for other local events. The Nashville Street Band consisted of fiddler Beauford Clay (born 1900) who was a great influence on Campbell's playing, second guitarist Bell Ray (b. 1909), bass horn player Ralph Robinson (b. 1885), and trumpeter George Bell.

Campbell and his band appeared to be quite content with the steady work they were receiving, and didn't seem to have any desire to pursue a career in recording. However, Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records became interested in the band after hearing a field recording of them made by a fellow blues fan, and so he set off to Nashville to find and record Campbell and his band. After two recording sessions with Campbell and his band in 1962 and 1963, the Arhoolie LP, "Blind James Campbell And His Nashville Street Band" (Arhoolie 1015) was released in 1963.

While these recordings never excelled Campbell into prominence, and the history of James Campbell and his band since the 1963 recordings is hazy, Strachwitz revisited these recordings and released them on CD in 1995, along with additional tracks from both recording sessions. Certainly, these recordings show evidence of a street band of considerable skill and quality, who were able to play American music from a variety of genres.


*Strachwitz, Chris. (1995). "Blind James Campbell and His Nashville Street Band". Audio CD ("Liner notes"). Arhoolie CD 438.

External links

*amg|id=11:gpfwxql5ldfe|label=Blind James Campbell
* [ Arhoolie Records Official site]

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