With a massive back catalogue of two albums in five years, and only a few select gigs, Starlite-Campbell Band have some chutzpah in producing a live album. Except that both those albums got rave reviews in all areas of the music press, their shows have been intimate but fully sold out affairs and their accumulated music industry experience runs into well over a century – oh, and this is the best live album I’ve heard this year – without a doubt!

Their musical style harks back to the great Blues rockers of the late sixties and seventies but it is also fresh and alive and, from personal experience, they are an absolute powerhouse of a live band, putting over their music with real passion and no little joy.

Simon Campbell (guitars & vocals) has been around the business for a long while, producing and playing guitar and his partner Suzy Starlite (Bass & vocals) is a songwriter, visual artist and multi-instrumentalist. Drums are handled by Steve Gibson while the keyboards on here feature Jonny Henderson, Christian Madden & Josh Phillips on different tracks.

So, to the album. It’s what happens when a bunch of superb musicians get together around some fine songs and play the bejasus out of them for the sheer bloody fun of it.
Campbell is a superb guitarist and between soloing and tearing out some fine riffs he also takes time to deliver his vocals with a sense of coolness and laid-back style. Starlite and Gibson lay down an absolutely solid back line, Gibson seems to be able to play in any style with ease and Starlite’s bass playing reminds me of both Tina Weymouth and John Entwhistle. The three different keyboards players on the album are all top players – Phillips is currently with Procul Harum, Johnny Henderson is one of the two or three ‘must have’ organists on the scene today and Christian Madden is with Liam Gallagher – and their different styles work perfectly with Starlite & Campbell across the piste.

Normally I would say that this track or the other are standouts but, to be frank, all eight tracks are standouts and have their own particular joys.

The album is exactly what I saw from the band on the occasions I’ve seen them live: top playing, a real sense that they are enjoying doing what they are doing and maximum professionalism holding them centred.

Cover photo by Dario Leonetti