In March, guitarist and renowned sideman Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm and many more) became one of many musicians to test positive for COVID-19. For about two weeks, he endured over-100-degree fever, headaches and loss of smell. As he told Rolling Stone after his fever had broken, “This thing has been a beast. It’s going to be a while before I begin to have equilibrium here. But I’m on the mend.”
About three weeks ago, Campbell fully recovered and finally received a negative test result. This weekend, he and his wife and musical partner Teresa Williams commemorated Campbell’s recovery by posting a performance of “Let Us Get Together Right Down Here” by Reverend Gary Davis. The celebratory video, filmed two weeks back in the couple’s home in Woodstock, New York, also marked a symbolic reunion for the couple: During Campbell’s coronavirus bout, he was forced to hole up alone in their home while Williams stayed in nearby New York City.
Davis, the East Coast singer and blues and ragtime guitarist who died in 1972, has been a recurring influence in rock and roll: songs associated with him, including “Samson and Delilah,” “Cocaine,” and “Baby, Let Me Follow You Down,” have been covered by the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Jackson Browne and Jefferson Airplane’s Jorma Kaukonen. Under the circumstances, Campbell and Williams’ choice of the jubilant and hopeful “Let Us Get Together Right Down Here” (first filmed for the New York Guitar Festival) is particularly relevant. And as seen here, Campell’s fingerpicking skills have recovered; during the illness, he was so sick he couldn’t even pick up a guitar.