Jeffrey Campbell Scarborough
aka "Jeff Campbell" to the 1960s Mississippi Gulf Coast Radio audience
The audio cut you hear is a current recording by
Jeff was one of my WLOX Radio record jocks for a short period
of time around 1966. I also called him a friend, and greatly admired his
magical ability to bring a
guitar to life. Nobody could navigate that instrument
through an almost flawless arrangement of "Maleguena" any
better than Jeff Scarborough. Not to mention the Beatles
"A Day In The Life".
Many of you will remember Jeff from the 1965 A&M recording
"Apache 65" where he recorded multiple tracks (5 if my memory is
correct). The recording came off so good, that Herb Alpert's label
decided to release it by a group called THE ARROWS. Then, when the
record started shooting up the Billboard chart, and there was a sudden
demand for the group, they had to throw a band together with the
appropriate number of guitars -- none of which could play the tracks
But let's forward to later that year: My brother-in-law, Milton Guillot, was an army sergeant in Vietnam. One day I received the most fascinating letter from him. It went something like this:
"Bro'n'law, you're not gonna believe this, but I swear it happened. I was at the USO club yesterday and ran into one of the touring musicians. He was working on some amplifying equipment and I told him, 'Wow! All those wires! How do you know what goes where?' The guy laughed, 'You get used to it.' So, I told him: 'My brother-in-law knows a lot about electronics; He used to teach it for the Air Force.' Well, this guitar player tells me, 'Yeah! So did my brother.' So I said: "My brother-in-law is a newsman now at a TV station.' 'Yeah? So is my brother,' he replied. 'Hey, No kidding,' I said, 'My brother-in-law works at a Biloxi, Mississippi TV station.' By that time he was looking at me a little funny, and I must have been doing the same to him. 'My brother's name is Scarborough', he told me and my jaw must have dropped to my knees. I was thinking: 'Hey, is this some black sheep in the family that they've been keeping a secret from me?'
Upon returning to the U.S., Jeff came to visit Chuck in Biloxi. His band had broken up by that time and since I was short a radio deejay, I talked him into doing: The Jeff Campbell Show. (contd. next column)
Jeff did a great job in radio, but his heart was in music. After failing to put together another band in Biloxi, he eventually headed back out to California where he still had musical contacts from his days as a studio musician.
A couple of years later when I moved to Hollywood, we renewed our friendship for a year or so, and then we both moved on. Over the years I have kept in touch mostly through Chuck, but I did touch base with Jeff was a few years back when I phoned him in New York. By then he was a cameraman for NBC and had a recording studio in his home where he was still dabbling in music.
I spoke to Chuck after 9/11 and learned that Jeff had taken the terrorist attacks pretty hard, watching all the destruction and death while his camera was rolling. So he decided to retire to Colorado.
UPDATE: As of August 2006, I spoke to Jeff and discovered he is back in a band -- TWO bands to be exact. Playing lead guitar with "Groovin' On", and a popular Denver area band, "The Threatles".
Soft spoken and, unlike many musicians, without a hint of ego, Jeff Scarborough will always be one of my favorite people, and no doubt my all-time favorite guitar player.
So, happy retirement Jeff, and I can't wait to get to Denver to hear you perform once again.
Get a current update on Jeff at:
Don't miss Jeff's article:
"Why The Beatles Are The Best There Ever Was, Or Ever Will Be"
Jeff is the brother of New York's WNBC anchor Chuck Scarborough who also worked at WLOX-TV at that time. But that's another story.