One of precious few Merseybeat-era contenders with the courage to follow The Beatles into psychedelia and beyond, Jimmy Campbell established his reputation with three endearingly eccentric folk-flavoured LPs – Son Of Anastasia, Half Baked and Jimmy Campbell’s Album – between 1969 and 1972.
While the bulk of his legend is contained within these and RPM’S 2004 compilation The Dream Of Michelangelo (focusing on his late 60s beat combos The Kirkbys and The 23rd Turn Off), Campbell devotees will welcome the arrival of Troubadour: Lost Recordings 1965-1991. Though leaning heavily on outtakes, alternate versions and live recordings, it’s enjoyably cohesive; the tracks from 1965-67 alone (including the blissful, Byrds-y chime of Don’t You Want Me No More and two takes of an exquisitely melancholic Michaelangelo) ensure it’s worth the price of admission. Meanwhile, some of the solo acoustic live tracks dominating the album’s second half previously surfaced on Viper’s download-only Campbell release Live 1977. They’re diverting, but pale next to the three stripped down Half Baked songs from a captivating 1971 live-in-the-studio session.
Troubadour’s biggest trump card is its inclusion of three songs from Campbell’s final studio sessions circa 1989-91. Blowin’ All Over The Road and If You Believe are likeably vulnerable acoustic outings, but it’s When I Cross Your Path – a full-band Iraq-related commentary – that supplies a great, but suitably idiosyncratic finale.