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Saturday, 19 April 2014

Ray Campi born 20 April 1939


Ray Campi (born April 20, 1934 in Yonkers, New York) is a distinguished musician often called The King of Rockabilly. Campi's trademark is his white double bass, which he often jumps on top of and "rides" while playing. He recorded several classic singles during the music's prime era, and later staged a comeback that earned him a substantial cult audience over the '70s and '80s.
Campi, whose father had made good money selling linoleum, temporarily retired in his early thirties and moved the family from New York to Austin, Texas, in 1944. Initially enthralled with Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Campi took up the guitar at age eleven and eagerly absorbed the area's unique cross-section of musical genres--blues, hillbilly, cowboy jazz, Big Band swing, and Tejano. By 1949 he had formed Ramblin' Ray and the Ramblers, recording songs on a privately owned disc-cutting machine and heating up elemental western swing with a little boogie on midday radio shows for KTAE and KNOW.
By the time rock 'n' roll hit during the mid-1950s, Campi had already mastered its root forms. What he and many other artists were waiting for was a catalyst. Yet once he heard Elvis Presley's early Sun recordings with Scotty Moore and Bill Black, Campi knew that he was meant to play rock 'n' roll. He learned rock 'n' roll songs by Little Richard and Chuck Berry and began playing high school dances.


Campi made his first recordings in 1951, but it wasn't until 1956, when he cut the single "Caterpillar" b/w "Play It Cool" for the small TNT label, that any of them were released. He went on to record for Domino ("Screamin' Mimi") and Dot ("The Ballad of Donna & Peggy Sue"), and moved to Los Angeles in 1959, where he signed with Colpix and recorded "Hear What I Wanna Hear."
Campi worked with many of the most prominent pioneers of rock and roll music, including Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, and Gene Vincent. He has fiercely criticized the mainstream music industry, in particular its connections with drug culture.
During the early '60s, Campi lived in New York and spent two and a half years as a staff writer at Aaron Schroeder's publishing firm, but was never allowed to record any of the songs he'd written.

Perennially rejected by the major record labels, Ray's music appears on over 50 recordings in Europe and Japan and he prides himself on not being politically correct! Ray has become a role model for kids who admire him for his playing, song writing and the revival of great obscure songs but also for helping keep honest, forms of music that might have otherwise disappeared
He returned to Austin in 1967 and recorded "Civil Disobedience" for the Sonobeat label, but nothing came of it, and he settled in Los Angeles and became a junior-high school teacher. Around 1973, Campi hooked up with Ronny Weiser's revivalist Rollin' Rock label and started making new recordings in the classic, high-energy rockabilly style. A steady stream of albums followed into the '80s, which also brought a couple of sets for Rounder, 1980's Rockin' at the Ritz and 1986's Gone, Gone, Gone!. Campi continued to record into the new millennium, releasing occasional albums on his own label.
With tongue in cheek, Campi often grouses about being identified with the difficult-to-transport stand-up bass. Initially he took up the instrument out of necessity, but it soon became his trademark. Campi is the only rockabilly singer who plays one, and he incites audiences by slapping it, standing on it, jumping off it, and gesturing with the bulky instrument as if it were a guitar. A good example of his playful stage antics can be seen in the 1979 British documentary Blue Suede Shoes or his 1984 appearance with the Leroi Brothers on Austin City Limits.
Ray Campi has been playing his unique brand of American roots music for more than 40 years. Whether he croons country heartbreak, boot-scooting western swing, or slap-back rockabilly, Campi gets to the heart of a song like no one else. Although an internationally known recording artist with a crowd-pleasing stage show, the bass-slappin' rockabilly has primarily earned his living as a Los Angeles schoolteacher. The fact that he has recorded so prolifically, with little reward or recognition, speaks volumes about this legendary figure's devotion to his art.
Ray continues to gig and record with his longtime musical pals Kevin Fennell (his lead Guitarist since 1977), Rip Masters on piano since the 70's and various others. Ray Campi is a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Ray Campi- Ray Campi - Road To Rockabilly (1951-1958) go here:

02.Play It Cool (Radio Show version)
03.It Ain't Me
04.Give That Love to Me
05.Won't You Love Me Darling
06.Hawaiian Chimes
07.Let Go of Louie
08.You Can't Catch Me
09.Livin on Louie
10.The Rambling Rag
11.I'd Love You
12.Toe Tappin' Rhythm
13.I Didn't Mean to Be Mean
14.My Screamin' Screamin' Mimi
15.The Crossing
16.Rolling Along
17.Long Tall Sally
19.Johnny's Jive

For Ray Campi - The Rollin Rock Singles Collection go here:

For Ray Campi - Perpetual Stomp go here: