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No doubt internet search engines will be driven crazy by this misleading entry so my humble apologies for those who have landed here seeking reliable information on any of the following subjects: A teenage Egyptian King who lived in the 1320’s B.C. … a 1978 musical comedy routine and hit record by Steve Martin spurred on by the three year long exhibit across the United States of the dead pharaoh’s possessions … violins played by rural Americans … or the act of resting comfortably with legs bent at the knees apparently while surrounded by others doing the same.

Hmm, did we miss anything?

Then again there might actually be one or two of you who wound up here to read about a long forgotten rock song by a nasal voiced teenager who was recording under an alias after two failed singles that came out for another label under his own name.

If you stick around to read what follows we can’t guarantee you’ll come away learning much more about ANY of those subjects, including the last of them which this review purports to focus on, but maybe it’ll finally convince you that relying on search engines is akin to playing pin the tail on the donkey after being spun around in a washing machine while drunk.

Sure, sometimes you might get lucky and hit your mark but a lot of the time you wind up getting dizzy, running into walls and falling down.


The News All Over Town
When we first met Carl Campbell last fall on the pretty decent uptempo rocker Oo Wee Baby he was a 16 year old Houston singer signed to Freedom Records, arguably the most proficient company in coming up with good rock records despite a limited budget for promotion.

Then we flipped that record over to find what in all likelihood was an entirely different singer also being billed as Carl Campbell doing a fair Amos Milburn impersonation on Between Midnight And Dawn.

Based on the ensuing evidence comprising both sides of his follow up single, it was the latter fellow, the one singing through his nose while being submerged underwater, who was the actual Carl Campbell.

Now here he is again – clearly the same voice – but coming out on a different label under a different moniker… King Tut… which only adds to the confusion.

It’s not that singers recording under stage names, or even aliases if they were still under contract elsewhere (possible, since an earlier “King Tut” release came out on Sittin’ In With while he was still on Freedom), was all that unusual, but it’s hardly necessary to have all this subterfuge since he wasn’t selling much for either label and thus nobody would really raise a fuss if he was putting out records for a dozen companies at the same time with the same name.

But then again everyone with a surfeit of talent could use a gimmick and I suppose the fact that Tutankhamen and Campbell both being teenagers is what prompted him taking on that name, but there’s very little evidence that the Egyptian ruler was a rock fan, while Campbell doesn’t sound too regal singing with his nose clamped shut like this.

Oh well, if Carl Campbell wants to role play for awhile in the hopes that the unusual name might draw some interest in the nondescript You’ve Been Fiddling Around, who are we to deny him that indulgence?

I’m Gonna Put You Down
As you may have guessed by now there’s really not a lot here to recommend, even though the rough concept and execution is serviceable.

It’s one of those records where everyone involved had a basic understanding of the requirements for a song like this without necessarily having their talent to do more with it than merely go through the motions with reasonable efficiency and hope that was enough.

It’s not… at least not quite… and while it may be sacrilegious to criticize royalty, the failure of You’ve Been Fiddlin’ Around can be placed at the foot of the throne of the de facto King.

We get the basic structural components we’ve come to expect by now – an impatient piano opening, moaning horns and some shuffling drums to set the scene followed by a singer bitching about an unfaithful girl.

Putting aside the fact that her actions might prevent her from ascending to Queen, the fact is as stories go we’ve heard all of this before and thus you need some more inventive twist along the way to hook us and either gain our sympathy or look forward to the possible retribution for her duplicity.

Instead we get none of that, just a teenage boy without much experience looking to act tough by dismissing her with one hand while his apparently unquenched arousal for her winds up pulling her back towards him with the other hand.

To put it more succintly, his horniness is overruling his sense of self-respect and therefore he’s allowing her to walk all over his heart while he’s making a show of doing the opposite… I don’t know about you, but I’ve already lost interest in the resolution to this tawdry conflicted tale.

Granted, at that age he’s bound to make mistakes in matters of romance but he’s still got a duty as an artist to make our investment in his story worth our time and attention. Yet because there’s no poignant lines, or juicy ones for that matter, it means we’re stuck listening to him alternately whine and bluster his way through an emotional problem best handled internally.

Stayin’ Out ‘Til Four
Because Campbell doesn’t sound distinctive enough to win us over he has to turn to the more experienced band to try and prop him up a little but with a no-frills arrangement there’s not much they can do to elevate this beyond competent.

The tenor saxophone of Ed Wiley is the heavy hitter on board, sharing the horn section with Henry Hayes on alto, but they’re not given much to do because of the type of song You’ve Been Fiddlin’ Around is shaping up to be.

Seeing how Campbell is perturbed by his girl’s actions the horns have little choice but follow suit by keeping their lines within the same sonic realm, not too energetic, but not altogether despondent either. We get two solos which are interspersed by a slightly jumpier piano solo by Willie Johnson, both fairly well played and even appropriate for the mood being set by the lyrics, but neither is something worthy of drawing our attention.

The first is sort of the musical equivalent of a forlorn Carl kicking the ground in resigned disgust in the parking lot after the girl left following their dust up. It kind of ponders the unfairness of life by moaning a bit without getting carried away, just sort of going around in self-pitying circles, whereas with the second solo Wiley at least convinces him to lift his chin again to face the world with more of a stiff-upper-lip, but we can tell it’s mostly an act as the horn never really cuts loose to convince us he’s moving on.

The rest of the musical accompaniment is there to offer support without being noticed, delivering very unobtrusive parts that create an appropriate backdrop but one that has no chance to leave an impression of their own.


You Don’t Want Me Anymore
Though this is a clearly record that exists for no other reason than to fill a slot on the release schedule of a label still hoping to draw some interest from rock enthusiasts, we all realize – as they surely do as well – that what they’re offering is unlikely to accomplish that.

Yet while Carl Campbell is too limited in his vocal ability and composing instincts to ever truly excel, You’ve Been Fiddlin’ Around shows that at the very least he’s still tolerably competent at what he does even though we’ll never really expect much more out of him no matter what guise he appears under.

His best case scenario therefore is to just make due with what he’s got, keep churning out moderately acceptable reproductions of proven formulas and hope that there’s always a struggling record label out there willing to give him a chance, at least until somebody better comes along to take his throne.


(Visit the Artist page of Carl Campbell for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)