Musicians mourn death of ‘one of the best’ box players
Professional career spanned decades and took Colin’s band across the world
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.