Tag Archives: Performers

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

Canadian Bassist Brad Campell

Brad Campbell played at Woodstock as part of Janis Joplin’s Kosmic Blues Band. Of course, like all musicians, he’d had things happen before and many things following.

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

Last Words

Canadian Bassist Brad Campell

Though little known in the US, the first big band Brad Campbell would play with was the Canadian band, The Last Words. The original group was comprised of Graeme Box (lead guitar), Ron Guenther (drums) and Noel Campbell (piano).

According to a Barbed Wire Design article, The Last Words began in Clarkson, Ontario in 1961 as the The Beachcombers.  Began and ended after two gigs.

Then, liking Ronnie Hawkins, they became the Nighthawks.

In 1964 Noel Campbell left the band, but before leaving invited brother Brad to join. Brad played bass.

Now they were The Smamokins band, but that soon changed to The Last Words.

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

I Symbolize You

Their first single in 1965, The Laugh’s On Me / She’ll Know How, for RCA Canada received very little air play, but in 1966 they hit the Canadian charts with a Columbia release, I Symbolize You / It Made Me Cry.

In late 1966, they released their last charted single, Give Me Time / Drive A Mini Minor, again on Columbia.

Bill Dureen left the group in 1967 and the remaining members continued with three others until 1968. Next was joining “The Paupers” with Skip Prokop (Lighthouse).

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

Janis Joplin

In 1968 he went to New York.

He auditioned for Janis Joplin and she instructed her agent Albert Grossman to hire Brad.

He the Kosmic Blues band in late 1968. He’d eventually join Janis Joplin’s Full Tilt Boogie Band.

A Know Your Bass Player article wrote: To my ears, the Kozmic Blues Band and Full Tilt Boogie Band, with bassist Brad Campbell, were the perfect match to advance Janis’ groundbreaking artistry after she departed Big Brother & The Holding Company.

Throughout I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama (1969), Pearl (1971),  and tracks on the archival In Concert (1972) [Campbell} fortified Ms. Joplin’s forays into soul and rhythm and blues on such classic tracks as “Try,” “Move Over,” “Half Moon,” and “Me and Bobbie McGee” with harmonic and rhythmic passages evocative of the Motown, Stax, and Atlantic Records session masters – who, at the time, were his peers.

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

Post Janis

Brad returned to Canada after Janis’s death.

He’d married and begin a family.

Canadian Bassist Brad Campell

Over the past two decades he has played with several bands, onee of which was Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Campbell played banjo and did vocals for Lawson from 1993 to 1994 and played on their album Never Walk Away.

His All Music credit list.

Brad lives in Milton, Ontario.

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell
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Percussionist Bobby Torres

Percussionist Bobby Torres

Percussionist Bobby Torres

How do you get your ticket punched for Woodstock?  Many ways. For Bobby Torres it was to begin by growing up in New York City, the child of parents from Puerto Rico, and to love playing the congas.

OK, but what about becoming part of Joe Cocker’s Grease Band?

Percussionist Bobby Torres

Grease Band

Well, in 1969 [in an interview with Mike Walker] Bobby relates: I saw him in 1969 playing at Fillmore East, playing with Rod Stewart and the Faces. He had the hit “Feelin’ Alright,” which was recorded with a conga player, but when he played it live he didn’t have a conga player. So he was billed at the Fillmore East, and he went to Ungano’s where I was playing on a Monday night, and asked me if I could sit in. And I said, “Sure.””

Percussionist Bobby Torres

LA > Portland > Tom Jones

The Grease Band disbanded soon after Joe Cocker left them and Bobby Torres moved to Los Angeles for the 70s where he became a key session player and then in the 80s he moved to Portland, Oregon but was often on the road as part of singer Tom Jones’s band.

Percussionist Bobby Torres

Bobby Torres Ensemble

By the 90s, Bobby Torres was back full time in Portland and became in integral part of that city’s musical scene, both jazz and Latin, with his Bobby Torres Ensemble.

Mike Walker of Portland’s McMenamins Crystal Ballroom says that, “Bobby’s ensemble has been a monthly feature of the Crystal Ballroom’s Salsa con Sabor program, staged weekly in Lola’s Room on the building’s second floor. “

Percussionist Bobby Torres

Tito Puente

Bobby Torres wants everyone to know that his musical hero is musician, songwriter and record producer, the The King of Latin Music Tito Puente. Puente was based in New York City and Torres went to hear him play whenever given the chance.

Percussionist Bobby Torres

More recently

2009
  • inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame
  • performed for Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  • Time Magazine published “Woodstock, How Does it Sound 40 Years Later?” an article which included a photo of Bobby in performance on stage with Joe Cocker at Woodstock
2015
  • Bobby performed with the Tadeschi Trucks band to a crowd of over 25,000 people at the Lockin’ Festival in Virginia. This concert was a tribute to Joe Cocker and featured many of the original members of Mad Dogs & Englishmen.
2016

Bobby was given the Jazz Journalist’s Association Jazz Hero Award. This award is given to advocates, altruists, activists, aiders and abettors of jazz who have had significant impact in their local communities.

Percussionist Bobby Torres

Nowadays

He’s still busy…just as he’s been for decades.

Percussionist Bobby Torres

Percussionist Bobby Torres

The Letter

Percussionist Bobby Torres
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Incredible String Band Rose Simpson

Incredible String Band Rose Simpson

The vision of hippies and the sounds their music made included a wide range of styles. The Incredible String Band’s style certainly fits within that range, albeit, at the edge.

Folk with an edge.

The Incredible String Band did not make it into the Woodstock movie or onto the Woodstock triple album [it did make it onto the expanded 25th anniversary CD]. If it had, they, like other performers who did make it, would likely have enjoyed a bump in their popularity and benefited financially from increased album sales.

Having said that, I’m not sure that the ISB members ever intended to find a path to rock-stardom. Success, surely, but super-stardom?

Incredible String Band Rose Simpson

Rose Simpson

Incredible String Band Rose Simpson

Rose Simpson was one of ISRs four members performing at that Bethel, NY Saturday evening. From the Herald Scotland siteSimpson has mixed feelings about the biggest gig in her life. “We could have done better, “ she says. “It was a disaster, really. By the time we played on Saturday, the crowd wasn’t in the mood to hear contemplative songs. It is uncomfortable when you see you’re only getting through to one in a hundred.”

Simpson recalls that the Friday afternoon at Woodstock was “like a big party”. “We spent the afternoon eating strawberries and cream, talking and laughing, splashing in the creek,” she says. “It was lovely. But then the rain came, the atmosphere changed, the roads were blocked and we were trapped. We couldn’t get away to a hotel, the organisers threw tents at us. Before I met the String Band, I used to do a lot of winter climbing in Scotland, so I was used to discomfort. It was damp and miserable, like camping in the rain in Glencoe.”

A quick online search reveals a picture of Simpson from the time, wearing a floaty white diaphanous dress and nothing else. “There was a lot of nudity, but when I see the pictures of myself there’s a certain innocence about it,” she says. “It wasn’t a come-on, it wasn’t like many pop singers today – a lot of that is just porn. It was part of the thing at the time, that women could dress as we pleased. It wasn’t a sexual thing. We were saying we were free.”

Woodstock had a lifelong effect on Simpson, and left her feeling that nothing could ever rival the sensation. “It wasn’t our best performance, but it was still an amazing experience – the high of highs,” she recalls. “There is nothing like playing to a crowd that big. There is nothing else you can do in life that comes even close.”

Incredible String Band Rose Simpson

Yorkshire

Simpson was born in Otley, Yorkshire and studied at the University of York. She met Robin Williamson and Mike Heron in 1968. At first she became Heron’s girlfriend, then she became a member of the band.

According to the band’s manager, Joe Boyd, “The day Robin proposed that Christina Licorice Mckechnie join the group, Mike went out and bought Rose an electric bass. ‘Learn this,’ he said, ‘you’re in the group now, too.'”

Incredible String Band Rose Simpson

Incredible String Band Rose Simpson

Lady Mayoress

She stayed with the group until 1971 and was on six of their albums: The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter (1968), The Big Huge (1969),  Changing Horses (1969), I Looked Up (1970), Be Glad for the Song Has No Ending (1970), and Smiling Men with Bad Reputations (1971). She left professional music after that and settled in Wales where at one point she was the Lady Mayoress of Aberystwyth.

Out of the limited limelight that she was in, Rose continues to live in Wales.

Incredible String Band Rose Simpson 
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