Any discussion of unsung guitar greats needs to include Glenn Ross Campbell. Thankfully, his work with Juicy Lucy is documented on this two-CD three-fer.
Between Freddie Roulette playing Chicago blues on lap steel and David Lindley making the instrument synonymous with ’70s L.A. rock, Campbell explored the lap’s possibilities with Rod Piazza’s Dirty Blues Band and the Misunderstood. The latter moved from SoCal to England, morphing into Juicy Lucy.
The late-’60s/early-’70s order of the day was eclecticism, and Campbell pushed his blues-based slide into Middle Eastern and psychedelic realms. On the self-titled debut (1969), rootsy originals wrap around impressive covers of “Who Do You Love” and “Nadine,” featuring Ray Owens’ gravelly vocals.
Campbell’s stratospheric lap-steel could be mistaken for bottleneck, but it’s a revelation to hear it as the main lead instrument. How crucial he was is proven by the fact that, on their controversially titled follow-up – 1970’s Lie Back and Enjoy It – the band added singer Paul Williams (Allan Holdsworth) and guitarist Mick Moody (Whitesnake), and soldiered on. Campbell delivered an aggressive tour-de-force on “Willie the Pimp.”
Get A Whiff A This suffers from weak material, but by then Campbell’s position in guitar annals should have been solidified.
This article originally appeared in VG’s November 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.