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Eddie C. Campbell Epitomizes West Side Chicago Blues

Eddie C. Campbell meets several of my prime criteria for artists to take note of. First, he has played with a Blues who's who including Howlin' Wolf, Jimmie Reed, Koko Taylor, Little Walter, plus Willie Dixon and the Chicago Blues All-Stars, among many others.

Second, he plays and sings a delightful West Side Chicago style that he helped develop, along with people like Luther Allison and Magic Sam. Plus, and this is what really counts, he is a great songwriter, very good vocalist and smokin' guitarist.

Campbell was born in Mississippi, but moved to Chicago when he was 10. Very soon after he arrived he snuck into a Muddy Waters performance. Immediately Muddy became Eddie's idol and, being quite the guitar prodigy, Campbell started jamming with Waters when he was only 12.

Eddie played both the West Side clubs and concerts, both as sideman and leader through the 1960s and 70s, but like Champion Jack Dupree, he tired of experiencing racism in America. From 1984 until he returned to Chicago in 1994, he lived various places in Europe. On his return to America he quickly reestablished his recording career and returned to being a stalwart of Chicago's West Side.

I speak of Campbell's playing in the present tense, but, sadly, Eddie has been sidelined due to a 2013 stroke and heart attack. The 75-year-old is getting medical treatment in Chicago. I'm pleased to say that he is making progress, despite the fact that he is currently confined to a wheelchair and has trouble playing guitar. He can still do some very nice Blues, as you can hear for yourself.

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