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"Hipster vaudeville! Fred Spek is a modern day Al Jolson!" (Toronto blogger Lonely Vagabond)

"Tom Waits meets The Muppets!" Marco DiFelice - Silent Joe Music licensing

"…the schlock level was through the roof!" Tom Tytel (The Rex Hotel)

Band News & Upcoming Gigs :

CANCELLED! Wed April 1 - 7:30pm - No Foolin' ! - Tranzac

CANCELLED! TueS April 14 - 8pm - Jaymz Bee's Birthday party for UNISON Music Fund - The Old Mill Toronto

CANCELLED! Tues April 21 - 9pm to 12 - The Local Pub 396 Roncesvalles Ave.

Maybe CANCELLED! Friday May 29 - 7pm - Grossman's Tavern - 379 Spadina Ave.



Camp Combo T-shirts! at our BANDCAMP merch page a nice gift! Art by Cornelius Spek

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The CaMp CoMbO story
For your jollification, we perform kooky 20's/30's style jazz, older novelty and pop tunes, swell standards, wingy swing, schmaltzy waltzes, polkas and fun originals!

Can jazz be be entertaining? Damn right! CaMp CoMbO joins a list of North American bands who've attempted to inject some arty fun into the jazzy side of popular music, including 1940-50s nutbar Spike Jones, Esquivel's crazy arrangements, Toronto's own Shuffle Demons and USA's Squirrel Nut Zippers. Toronto blogger Lonely Vagabond called us "hipster vaudeville", and it is a mix of pop/swing/jazz and polka. Plenty of original stuff, but we also sneak TV themes, surf beats, assorted swingers and maudlin ballads on to the set lists. So book us already!

Upcoming > Bio > Members > Links > Media > Past Gigs > Contact > Pix

Music: Many choices! Scroll down for discs, most with music players.

Prefer SOUNDCLOUD? Click right here my friend

Also, our Bandcamp site (no relations!) is a good place to download music in various quality formats.

Our latest CD is "For Cryin' Out Loud" Download it here at CD Baby, listen to clips...

- CD "CRaCKeRS" - Graphics - kNeil Spek

An 11 song disc of oddball tunes the band loves to play. Original work by Fred Spek includes the song Hey Bev, which now has lyrics. Fred also wrote words for Tanya Cheex Polka and The Christians Are Boiling. Join our E-list and request free MP3s or order a CD. Fred will send it to ya, personally! Hear it now via the MP3 player below.

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- EP "Roughin' It" - Graphics-Kneil Spek

This recording is a 5 song EP of original tunes by Fred Spek. 2 are instrumentals, Fred sings on the others! Send your email address and ask for free MP3s or to order a CD. Hear it now via the MP3 player below.

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- Rock Paper Scissors - Graphics-Kneil Spek

Tracks from the 4-song EP 'ROCK PAPER SCISSORS' can be heard with the MP3 player below. Our friend Brian Cram plays trumpet and Treasa Levasseur, accordion. Glen Hall of Exclaim! liked it, you can read his review below. Email me $10 and I'll send you a copy. Better yet, come to a gig and pick one up. We'll talk! We never talk.

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- Beans 'n Wieners - Graphics - kNeil Spek

Streaming MP3s from the 7-song CD "Beans 'n Wieners" are below. Order the CD from CD Baby. Hear CaMp CoMbO versions of those old chestnuts "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" and "Happy Days Are Here Again".

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Wanna download our music? Get the audio quality level you want at Bandcamp (no affiliation to us other than a great name!). You could also go to iTunes and CD Baby. More stuff about us at the CBC's new-music page for Canadian talent!
Head for the sky and find us on the Soundcloud, if that's where you hang. .

Also, Get our CDs (in Toronto) at Sonic Boom, Soundscapes on College St, Pandemonium (in The Junction) (a great vinyl selection there!).

Upcoming > Music > Bio > Members > Links > Past Gigs > Contact > Pix

Media mentions:

Torontoist - Urban Planner (Nov 13/12 The Reservoir Lounge) - Every night there’s a seemingly infinite amount of forgettable indie bands playing in bars across the city. Tonight, why don’t you try something a little different? Fred Spek’s CaMp CoMbO promises a memorable evening, with their upbeat hybrid of pop, swing, jazz, and polka (lovingly known as “hipster vaudeville”). Don’t be surprised when a few TV theme songs and surf beats make their way onto the set list.

"Camp Combo play a fun and somewhat bizarre blend of pop, swing, jazz and polka music, comparable to the off-beat wackiness of Spike Jones or Esquivel. They've just finished their brand-new EP "Roughin' It"... Daniel Woodhead - blogTO


"Tom Waits meets The Muppets!", Marco Difelice, member of Silent Joe music licensing collective

Canada's superlative music magazine ExCLAiM! reviews our EP:
Fred Spek's Camp Combo - Rock, Paper, Scissors
By Glen Hall
After a long winter hibernating you may be thinking, "I need something to raise my spirits, something to give me an emotional spring cleaning." Look no further. Fred Spek and his cheerful bunch of summer music campers have got the antidote for anybody's case of the grumpies. With good-spirited humour and exuberant playing, Rock, Paper, Scissors takes a vaudevillian view of life and love. Delivered in a declamatory style reminiscent of Frank Zappa on Freak Out, Spek belts out lyrics like, "I'll never forget my blunder/Until you're six feet under" that will bring a wry smile to even the most sullen of listeners. The four-song EP keeps its rib-tickling focus throughout, including on the raucous reading of the 1895 pop tune "And the Band Played On." Camp Combo also provide food for thought, painting a vivid picture of God and Satan playing rock, paper, scissors to determine some hapless human's fate. This is a fun disc that's appropriate for pleasant social gatherings with friends and family.(Independent)
Direct link to Exclaim's review


Mysterious, ubiquitous music scenester Lonely Vagabond had this to blog:
"Fred Spek is a modern day Al Jolson-meets-Benny Goodman, part entertainer, part bandleader. The music is a bouncy carousel seamlessly blending jazz, swing, and ragtime. Offbeat characters capturing that sparkle of a Mardi Gras procession. A throwback, spattering of minstrelism and rousing musicianship, in the heart of Torontopia. A cuddly heart. With the spirit to match."


Stanley Fefferman of The Live Music Report when Gary Topp booked us to open for T.O.F.U., "...and you would love to dig the opening band, Fred Spek's Neo Swing band Camp Combo playing tunes like the theme from "Secret Agent Man", and "Animal Crackers in My Soup".


And commuter rag DOSE gave us a plug:
Friday Sept 2 - "Great jazz doesn't always have to come from dark and tortured souls. Take Fred Spek's Camp Combo, for example. This quartet delivers goofy jazz and novelties. Just don't let any Billie Holiday fans know. There may be a riot, with jazz hands flying." Christine Clarke


"thanks to Fred Spek and his gang, even vegetarians should now take "Beans and Wieners" camping...this CD is so much fun, it puts the Kamp in camp." Jaymz Bee JAZZ FM


We opened for the very hilarious Wet Spots at Revival last Valentines Day, and some blogTO blogger said:
"The opening act, Fred Spek's Camp Combo, featured all of the elements essential for a novelty act: mad-paced, frenetic music that careened wildly between lounge and jazz, the all-important banjo and a singer sporting..." To read the rest, click here my friend.

In 2008, Fred Spek did an interview and solo performance for Centennial College's The Journal, a student magazine style cable show. His bit is the last piece, so scroll to the end once it's loaded!

Here's a video of the song Takes Two to Tango, from a gig at Mitzi's Sister on Toronto's Queen Street West. Thanks Cornelius Spek for posting this on Facebook in 2008.

Jaymz Bee took his Jazz Safari to our recent gig at Parkdale's Mitzi's Sister, and had this to say:
"...we went to Mitzi's Sister to enjoy Camp Combo. It was quirky music that featured raspy sax solos and some daring vocals from Fred Spek. One Safari-ite observed; "These guys are much better musicians than they are letting on!" while another said "It's nice to see these young boys having so much fun, they're really odd!" It was a memorable and wacky way to end our first Jazz Safari of the season.

Jaymz also hosts "Jazz In The City" on JazzFM - Saturdays 6-8pm

Upcoming > Music > Bio > Links > Media > Past Gigs > Contact > Pix

Nichol - Great Bob Scott! - Fred -

Band Members:

Fred Spek plays tenor sax and sings. Formerly with The Mood Swingers, ska band Inner City Fanatics, art rockers Braino, dub-jazzers Dub Enforcement Agency, Blank Crowd, Jason Clark's Bug Nite and many others. He has shared the stage with the likes of Mary Margaret O'Hara (who blew bubbles while he crooned the standard "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles"), performs regularly in Richard Underhill's street band The Kensington Horns, has done gigs with Michael Louis Johnson's free blowing party band Rambuctious and is a regular guest with Toby Hughes & The New Orleans Connection Jazz All-Stars (Sundays at Grossman's Tavern), bluesman Jake Chisholm, Mad Bastard Kevin Quain, punk-jazzer Big Rude Jake and many more. He sang tenor in the now defunct Bloor St. Gospel Choir, plays tenor saxophone in Swansea Community Band. For fun & profit, he enjoys busking on the streets and in the subways of Toronto. His list of original tunes for CaMp CoMbO continues to grow, and
Fred would like to acknowledge support from the Ontario Arts Council, who awarded him a songwriters grant in 2011.

Nichol S. Robertson was born and raised. He plays banjo, guitar and other people's feelings. Currently Nichol runs his own bands The Honkytonk Boogaloo Boys, The Layrite Boys duo, and also enjoys selling his soul to such musical acts as Friendly Rich & The Lollipop People, with Ted Hawkins in Thelonius Hank, Victor Bateman's Another Country, Devin Cuddy, Whitney Smith, Ian Goodhue's rockin' soul revue The Mercenaries, Stones cover band Dead Flowers, CCR cover band Locomotion and many others. In the future, he hopes to sell his soul to much more lucrative acts (i.e. Metallica, Lawrence Welk or the people who do the music for Saturday morning Christian channel shows).

We've had so many fine and fun bass players with the band, see list below.

Tim Shia, is often on the drum set, though we've had Great Bob Scott, Ted Hawkins and then some! See list below.

Other Excellent Musicians that we've been lucky to work with are drummers Mike Rosenthal, who has done lots of gigs, and great recordings with us!, jazz cat Nick Fraser, GUH's Blake Howard, Daniel Barnes, Sly Juhas, Dave Clark, Lowell Whitty, Conny Nowe, Daniel Stadnicki, Joe Poole, Jake Oelrichs, Brodie West, Mark Westberg and Eric Bouchard.

Bass players have included groovy Rachel Melas, JUNO winner Brandi Disterheft, living legend Victor Bateman, Brendan Davis, Wes Neal, Mike Herring, Brian Kobayakawa, Jon Meyer, Chris Banks and Mike Bann, and one special night Ka-Cheong Liu blew bass lines on his tuba! And last but not least, Micheal "Blitz" Kaler.

Distinguished organists include long time members Benjamin Mueller-Heaslip and Waylen Miki, guests Joel Visentin, Alan Zemaitis, Nathaniel Edgar, Jeff McLeod, Cindy Fairbank, Ryan Driver, Dafydd Hughes, Meher Steinberg, Marcel Aucoin, Peter Hill, Michael Boguski, Tania Gill, Kelsey McNulty, Jason Kenemy, and accordionist Fabrice Sicco
Great guitarists such as Eric St. Larent, Rizaldo Padilla, Margaret Stowe, Jason Crawford and Tom Juhas have also played with the band. Trumpet blower Brian Cram, trombonists Scott Good and Steve Donald, alto Toby Hughes as well as bari saxist Ben Burke have all blown their horns with us, and whatta blast it was!

Upcoming > Music > Bio > Members > Links > Media > Past Gigs > Pix


We play nightclub dates, special events, swing dance parties, weddings, fundraisers in a variety of combos. We know many jazz standards.

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