Meet Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell

Capitol, 2008

REVIEW BY: Kenny S. McGuane


It’s gotta be hard on the ego to slowly descend from somewhere near the top into total pop culture oblivion. In the 1960’s and on into the mid 1970’s, Glen Campbell was at the top of the pop-country pile. A string of hugely successful treatments of songs written by the seminal Jimmy Webb (“By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” etc.) brought Campbell’s gorgeous voice and skillful guitar playing onto the radios and turntables of even those who didn’t consider themselves fans of country music. His successes as a country star also led to his having been given his very own television show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, which ran from 1969-1972.

After decades of bad records, casino tours, substance abuse, a hysterical and totally unbecoming mug shot, and several wives, the legendary Glen Campbell has found his way back home to Capitol Records and released his 59th album. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Meet Glen Campbell is totally unexpected in its unavoidable goodness.

The Campbell format is the same here as it always has been; he’s never been much of a writer and so he’s relied upon the talents of other writers to provide the material for his records. The only difference on Meet Glen Campbell is that while he has typically been given credit for making songs popular in terms of chart success and radio play, these songs have already been made popular by their writers.

The record opens up with a gorgeous version of the banjo-laden, church-bell-ringing, epic single “Sing,” which is one of the best songs from the catalog of Scotland’s soft-spoken folk-rock band Travis. Following “Sing” there are two Tom Petty numbers, “Walls” and “Angel Dream,” both of which are perfect for Campbell’s mid-range vocal and slick electric guitar playing. The signer’s fine interpretation of the Foo Fighter’s “Times Like These” serves as a pleasant reminder of the writing strengths of Dave Grohl. Campbell then covers Jackson Browne’s “These Days,” Paul Westerberg’s “Sadly, Beautiful,” U2’s “All I Want Is You,” Lou Reed’s “Jesus,” Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life),” and finally, closes the album with a poignant version of Lennon’s “Grow Old With Me.”

Glen Campbell is 72 years old. It’s hard to imagine a man his age being able to pull off contemporary pop music. But he does. There’s nothing mind-blowing here, but there’s also nothing to hate about Meet Glen Campbell. He sounds as good as he always has and his guitar playing is spot on, per usual. Even if this is as good as it gets for a pop legend who is in the twilight of his career, Meet Glen Campbell has, at the very least, reaffirmed Glen Campbell’s talent and polished off most of the tarnish that had smeared his legacy.

Rating: B

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© 2008 Kenny S. McGuane and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol, and is used for informational purposes only.