Acoustic Music Magazine
September 2005

Mike Campbell: Mars Outback
(Gold-N-Moose MDC444MO)

Meet the three Mike Campbells! Campbell number one: Lovin’ Mike! There, fresh back from the barber, in his favorite sweater, holding the 000-45 just the way the Mel-Bay shows it! Ready to turn your heart to taffy with ooey gooey odes to the love of his life. Why, just starting the record is “Falling In Love”! And being away from his native Alaska (and you sweetums) is like “Christmas Without Snow.” Lovin’ Mike has that deep, lush baritone that brings him to within some synth strings of being a Roger Whittaker sound alike.

But wait! He’s not! He’s . . . Stout Hearted Mike! All 250 burly pounds o’ him in ‘is kilt, ready ta slap yer back ‘n’ order up tha next pint o’ somethin’ ta put hair on yer chest! He tells the barmaid, in the best song about beer since “Non Barleycorn”, to put that Budweiser “Back In The Clydesdale” and bring ‘im a Guinness. Stout Hearted Mike sings about his buddy “Whiskey John”, too, takes a whirl on the “Turnagain Waltz”, and celebrates the hunting season with “First Kill.”

Now look outside! Kicking back in a lawn chair on the side of a glacier, its Campbell number three: Good Time Mike, the Bush Pirate, King of the Puffinheads! With his Aloha shirt and gotohell pants at 10 below, he’s here for the party up in Number 49, with a hilarious tale of the Iditarod gone crazy, and of a goofy gambler called the “Seventh Son.”

The three Campbells wrote all the songs on Mars Outback between them, and if you don’t like one of them, you’ve got the other two to adore, and that’s enough to put this CD in the collection.

Tom Peterson