Mu­si­cians mourn death of ‘one of the best’ box play­ers

Pro­fes­sional ca­reer spanned decades and took Colin’s band across the world

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­times.co.uk

A MAN de­scribed by fel­low mu­si­cians as ‘one of the best box play­ers of all time’ passed away on Satur­day af­ter a short ill­ness.

Mu­si­cian Colin Camp­bell, born and bred in Oban, led one of the most pop­u­lar tra­di­tional Scot­tish bands in the ’60s and ’ 70s, re­leas­ing sev­eral al­bums and cas­sette tapes.

Colin Camp­bell and his High­land Band had a unique sound cou­pled with su­perb ar­range­ments with a dis­tinc­tive west coast swing. Splen­didly dressed in An­cient Camp­bell tar­tan jack­ets, the band was im­mensely pop­u­lar dur­ing its pro­fes­sional ca­reer.

Record­ing for both the Bel­tona/ Decca and Lis­mor record­ing com­pa­nies, Colin was a self-taught mu­si­cian with a per­fect ear for writ­ing and com­pos­ing mu­sic - which he did through­out his life. Last year he penned the ‘Rock­field Polka’ to raise aware­ness of the cam­paign to keep open Oban’s Rock­field school.

The band was un­doubt­edly one of the far­thest trav­elled and hard­est work­ing bands of their era, and played all over the UK per­form­ing for shows and dances from Lewis to Lon­don.

High­lights of a two-week English tour in­cluded an ear-split­ting re­cep­tion at the Royal Al­bert Hall and The Fes­ti­val Hall in Lon­don.

Colin Camp­bell And His High­land Band rep­re­sented Scot­land at the Welsh Eisteddfod for two years run­ning play­ing with Alas­dair Gillies, Jimmy Shand, Ed­in­burgh City Pipe Band, The Cor­ries and many oth­ers.

Colin ac­com­pa­nied Alas­dair Gillies in more than 60 pro­grammes with Scot­tish Tele­vi­sion in the early ’ 70s called ‘Alas­dair Sings’ and on many tours.

Colin also worked with many other lead­ing Gaelic singers in­clud­ing Don­ald Macrae, Calum Kennedy and Nor­man Ma­clean.

Famed Oban singers Dell Turnbull, Erik Spence, and Billy Ford fea­tured on vo­cals on var­i­ous al­bums and in­deed Colin him­self.

He was in­vited to Canada three times to star on a se­ries called Ceilidh which reached num­ber one on the Cana­dian Net­work. The first visit was in 1973. The next visit was a year later in 1974, with Calum Kennedy, also He­len MacArthur, so­prano. Colin also played along with the Cape Bre­ton Fid­dlers. The third and fi­nal visit was in 1975 and join­ing Colin on this trip were Alas­dair Gillies, and Robin Hall and Jim­mie Macgre­gor.

Dur­ing the ’80s and ’ 90s, Colin gave up tour­ing with the band to con­cen­trate on play­ing in lo­cal ho­tels and restau­rants, en­ter­tain­ing sum­mer tourists and lo­cals at McTav­ish’s Kitchen, The Park Ho­tel and the highly pop­u­lar stage show Tar­tan Ga­lore at the Cor­ran Halls in Oban.

Colin lived in Oban. He is sur­vived by his wife Lorna, four daugh­ters, 14 grand­chil­dren and two great grand­chil­dren.

Colin’s fu­neral will take place in Oban parish church on Wed­nes­day Septem­ber 16 at 1pm. Fam­ily flow­ers only have been re­quested.

A col­lec­tion will be taken for Cly­de­side Ac­tion on As­bestos.

TAL­ENTED: Colin Camp­bell died on Satur­day evening. His cam­paign to save Rock­field saw him com­pose the Rock­field Polka.

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