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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,MikeOfNorthumbria (sans cookie) Never heard of Alex Campbell (237* d) RE: Never heard of Alex Campbell 23 Apr 18

Dear Akenaton,

In reference to your comment above:

"The Alex that I remember was neither a revolutionary Marxist nor a wishy washy "liberal"....far from it! ;0)"

Perhaps you misunderstood my comment If so, I apologize for not putting "wishy-washy liberal" in inverted commas - it was meant to be ironic.

Just for the record, the WWL tag was often applied by revolutionary Marxists (among others) to those who believed that the current political and economic situation could be improved by gradual increments, without resorting to violence. It (WWL) became such a familiar cliche that some of us occasionally adopted it (ironically of course!) as a badge of honour. Is that clear enough now?

As to whether Alex was 'apolitical' - well, I knew the man reasonably well over a period of nearly thirty years, and the conversations we had indicated clearly to me that he was both knowledgeable and concerned about many political issues.

To take the most obvious example, Alex supported the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament - he wore the badge and went on marches. And as you might expect of a singer whose repertoire included many songs learned from black artists such as Lead Belly, Big Bill Broonzy and Gary Davis, he was a vehement opponent of racism - abroad or at home. Many other songs that he performed - from Woody Guthrie's dust-bowl ballads to the songs of Scottish traveling people - also highlighted the inhumane treatment of the poor and powerless by the rich and powerful. That's being 'political',isn't it?

Finally, why not take another look at two of the best-known songs he wrote himself - 'My Old Gibson Guitar' and 'So Long'. Both of them give a pretty clear indication of what Alex felt was wrong with the world as it is, and the kind of world he would like to see replace it. If you think they aren't 'political' songs then you and I have a different understanding of the word 'political'.

Finally, I'd like to endorse The Sandman's comment - Alex was a kind and very generous man, as well as a truly great entertainer. None of his recordings - good though some of them are - convey the magic he could generate in a live performance. As I said before, you had to be there.


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