There’s no front to David Campbell. The guy you see on the TV – irrepressible, boisterous, even larrikin, but full of humour and down to earth – is exactly what you get in real life. When we start talking about his latest album, Swing Sessions 2, his enthusiasm is genuine.
“It feels good, actually. Really good. It feels like more of a mature step.” he says.
The second album is ballsier than the first and I can’t help asking if he enjoyed himself more this time around.
“I suppose so,” he says. “There was so much pressure doing the first one, we had to really get it right. Honestly, I had my back to the wall on several things. I didn’t know if I was going to sing again, let alone record again.
“I was trying to prove myself a lot, and so was [producer] Chong Lim. We really wanted to prove we could get it right and everything was perfect.”
The success of the first album meant they could be more relaxed and enjoy themselves. But is David Campbell doing his usual trick of balancing three projects at a time? “No, this is it for a while,” he laughs. He points out he is already booked in to do a couple of shows at Her Maj in March next year as part of a national tour.
His last shows a couple of months ago were booked so tight he had trouble getting his own family in. “I had to sit them on the side of the stage. I told them, ‘No, it’s a really fashionable area.’ Hopefully this time I’ll plan a little better. I was really lucky. Having a full house is good fortune to have.”
His choices on this album reflect the songs he listened to and fell in love with as a child, songs less remembered like There Will Never be Another You, a hit for Nat King Cole, which prompts Campbell to give me an impromptu, eerily accurate Cole impression.
“I think I had the most fun with Just A Gigolo. I’m a big Louis Prima fan [That’s Life is the other Prima song on the album.] That’s the one with the Celebrity Chorus. Friends of mine like Magda Szubanski called me up saying, ‘Hey, you’re in Melbourne, can I drop into the studio and see you?’ and I said, ‘Well, if you come in here, you’ll have to do some work.’ So they all came in and we recorded the song with them all singing and clapping along.
“We both felt that the rash of people doing tribute albums that splice old recordings with new artists are an abomination; that the best tribute is to understand what those old artists were doing, and then try to walk in their footsteps by following their example. Interpreting the music in your own way is the best way to keep it alive.”
So he does.
David Campbell’s new album The Swing Sessions 2 is out now through SonyBMG.

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