Meet Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell

Capitol, 2008

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck


There’s a certain level of comfort in knowing that even through the high points and the low points in life, some things remain strikingly the same. Those things help us through those tough days when nothing seems to be working, or those days when the years feel like they are catching up to you. During those inevitable moments, it is nice to have that song, or that person, or that book to fall back on.

My attempts to wax nostalgically are not coincidental for the purposes of this review, I assure you. One need look no deeper than the title Meet Glen Campbell to be assured that the primary purpose of this record is to establish a connection between the old and the new, through a well-proven formula that never ceases to reassure and comfort.

Glen Campbell would never be held up with the other giants of his time, but there is no arguing that certain generations remember the man’s work fondly, and consider him an example of an era. In addition to his work as a sidemen for such luminaries as The Beach Boys, Elvis, and Sinatra, Campbell’s work with Jimmy Webb propelled him to superstardom. The evocative imagery, booming voice, and lush orchestration of the pieces hit a core with the listening public, and they responded by providing him with hits through the ‘70s.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Rhinestone Cowboy” certainly did not change the genre it inhabited, nor did “Galveston.” But when coupled with the production values Campbell became known for, they just clicked on all cylinders as outstanding pop songs. In attempting to “modernize” Campbell, producers Julian Raymond and Howard Willing wisely came to the conclusion that Campbell’s sound wasn’t out-of-date, and still functioned in the same way it did decades prior.

With the exception of the pristine production, it would be difficult to ascertain whether this record was recorded during Campbell’s heyday, or yesterday. As mentioned earlier, the so-called formula is executed perfectly. Strings abound, rising and swelling in moments that simply make one want to burst. That voice is weathered and shows its years but is no less compelling. There is a mournful weariness to tracks such as “Grow Old With Me” that could only have come from the passage of time.

Meet Glen Campbell follows the format that returned Johnny Cash to prominence and success in that Campbell and Co. selected numerous songs that were deemed to fit Campbell’s persona and cover them. Not all of the selections are shocking, but some stick out as the decidedly unique choices. Jackson Browne, John Lennon – these artists that were/are contemporaries of Campbell seem fitting. Yet modern groups such as The Foo Fighters, Travis, and Green Day seem just as perfect. Hearing the familiar rings of “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)” would initially cause one to think that this is yet another cover of an overplayed song. But as the song plays out, one realizes how much more it can mean coming from a man of Campbell’s stature, closer to the end than he is from the beginning.

From the opening moments to the final note, Glen Campbell recaptures the magic that he once had years ago. Again, there is nothing momentous to discern within the proceedings, there really is no great message that carries the piece. It’s the sound of a man whose best days are behind him but is willing to at least try and reach out for them again.

Rating: A-

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© 2009 Jeff Clutterbuck 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.