michael gallucci

REVIEW — Glen Campbell: Greatest Hits

In Uncategorized on 01/09/2009 at 8:04 am

Glen Campbell
Greatest Hits

Last year’s Meet Glen Campbell found the venerable session guitarist, temporary Beach Boy, and ’70s TV star covering Velvet Underground, Green Day, and Replacements songs. It was his first new album in more than a dozen years and one of his all-time best. Two of its cuts—the Foo Fighters’ “Times Like These” and Jackson Browne’s “These Days”—cap Greatest Hits, a remastered set that gathers 16 tracks spanning 40-plus years. And the best of them, just like on the comeback CD, show Campbell—a country-music behemoth in his heyday–as a sharp and insightful interpreter, starting with John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind,” which netted Campbell a truckload of Grammys in 1967. But it’s the following year’s “Wichita Lineman” that made him a star. Campbell peels away the layers of isolation and desperation in Jimmy Webb’s oft-covered song (everybody from Johnny Cash to R.E.M. to the White Stripes has had a go at it). He does the same on his version of Webb’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” usually a maudlin snooze with other singers. Greatest Hits glides through string-soaked faves from the ’60s (“Galveston”), mid-‘70s pop hits (“Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Southern Nights”), and some stuff that nobody remembers (“True Grit”). Through it all, Campbell resurfaces as one of pop’s most understated artists. –Michael Gallucci


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