Dick Campbell

Dick Campbell Sings Where It's At

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Mercury put out a bunch of under-promoted, awkward commercial folk and early folk-rock LPs in the mid-'60s, but this one really takes the cake for sheer ill-conceived weirdness. Campbell was the most blatant early-electric-period Dylan imitator this side of David Blue, except he was notably inferior as a singer and songwriter even to Blue. It really is difficult to tell whether this was intended as a Dylan satire or a Dylan homage, particularly when the lyrics contain such gems as "Well, the girls all love me, I have to beat 'em away with a club" and "Hey Mr. Unrefined, lower class hoodlum kind, trying to beat my head 'cause he don't like how I act, well, don't do it." They're all delivered with Dylan's sing-speak vocal style, of course. Campbell is not a good singer, though, and a contrived songwriter, though it's sometimes evident he's trying to match Dylan's internal rhyming schemes. It gets even more curious when a couple of songs bear the influence of groups like the Four Seasons in the vocal harmonies. For all that, the instrumental backing has its appeal for those who like the early Dylanesque folk-rock sound, particularly in Mark Naftalin's organ and Mike Bloomfield's 12-string guitar.

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