Long awaited new album from Glen - to start on a slight negative it took me three times playing the CD for it to really kick in - and when it did it was brilliant. Slightly over produced and the CD is too "loud" - but what a great return to Capitol Records!!!! Like Johnny Cash later CD's songs you would not usually associate with Glen - but he makes them each his own. Stand out tracks for me are Tom Petty's "Walls" (made to sound like a 60's Campbell record) and John Lennon's "Grow Old With Me". In fact I can't take the CD off the player and each and every track gets better and better the more you listen. This is far superior to the rather bland Neil Diamond release earlier this year and this CD certainly deserves the same recognition - and air play! Welcome back Glen Campbell.
on 3 August 2008
I've always had a soft spot for Glen Campbell. His early hits, such as "Wichita Lineman", "Galveston" and "By The Time I Get To Phoenix", remain some of Jim Webb's best compositions and that voice always rang true. On this outstanding return to form, Mr Campbell was apparently asked to sift through a mountain of songs before deciding on the 10 selections chosen. Not a Jim Webb song in sight but an eclectic mix it is. In order they are composed by Travis, 2 back to back Tom Petty's, Dave Grohl, Jackson Browne, The Replacements, U2, The Velvet Underground, Green Day and John Lennon. As I said, an eclectic mix. I believe that Mr Campbell is now in his 70's and he has had well documented problems but it's amazing how strong his voice has stayed. Instead of taking the "safe" Rick Rubin route (don't get me wrong, I like the latest Neil Diamond, Jakob Dylan, John Mellancamp and Johnny Cash "American" series but it seems to be where all the "old timers" go for credibiity)he opts for a style more akin to his hits from the 60's and 70's and it's all the better for that. If you're curious, buy this CD on spec. You'll be pleasantly surprised! Favourites? Try "Sing", "Sadly Beautiful", "Grow Old With Me"..... just try 'em all! Surprise packet of the year? I think so!
on 23 August 2008
If someone had told me 5 years ago that my 3 favorite artists in 2008 would be Johnnie Cash, Neil Diamond and Glen Campbell I would have told you where to go.
This is truly a masterpiece, I downloaded the album from iTunes after hearing "good riddance" on the radio, as soon as I played the first track my plans for the rest of the evening went out the window, I must have played it back to back 6 or 7 times. "All I want is you" is the perfect song to seduce the love of your life to.
Don't bother with the downloads, just by the CD (or vinyl), believe me this is one album you'll be playing over and over again.
on 2 November 2008
I bought two albums at the same time a week or so ago - and I must have been inspired. One was Sia's fantastic 'Some People Have Real Problems' (I must do a review on that!) and this beauty.
One of the other reviewers suggested that this is the best album of 2008 - it is right up there as a contender. The ten tracks are covers of some very fine songs, some I knew and some I didn't. The thing about Glen Campbell is that, at 72, his singing is still as good as ever. I've always liked him, but have nothing more than a compilation which features one or two of his songs.
One reviewer has criticised the production, but I think it just adds to the quality of the tracks on the album. It starts off with 'Sing', written by Fran Healey of Travis who, I must admit, I find extremely boring. However, this is a great song and a wonderful version, beautiful in it's full (as opposed to paired-down) production - a great opening track, which got me involved in the album. From there, the music just flows and the other nine tracks include a couple by Tom Petty, Jackson Browne, Billy Joe Armstrong (of Green Day), Lou Reed and John Lennon. It leaves me wanting to play the album again and again.
Yes, Glen is singing as well as ever and there are some lovely backing singers here. Instrumentally, there is a superb set of musicians, including GC himself - a great guitarist - and the arrangements are perfect.
This is Glen Campbell and friends, putting together an album in the Glen Campbell mould, but brought up to date. The length of the album is only 33:46, which is short. I would have like a couple more tracks, but if you want to listen to it a couple of times, you've only spent just over an hour doing so.
So, a brilliant album, a fantastic return from Glen Campbell which, I for one, hope will be followed up in a similar vein - I would welcome a second album of covers, a la 'Meet Glen Campbell Again'.
Glen Campbell is, quite simply, a master interpreter of other people's songs. In Jimmy Webb he found a songwriter whose lyrics and melodies were perfect pickings for him. They were made for each other. No one should need reminding that Wichita Lineman, Galveston, By The Time I Get To Phoenix and Where's The Playground Suzie were evocative, melodic counterpoints to the emerging hard rock sounds of the late 60s and early 70s.
Pitched somewhere in peoples' minds between Elton John and John Denver, Glen Campbell became largely irrelevant for the next three decades. Although he recorded during this period, with occasional success, the songs were generally bland, pointless and poorly produced. What he needed was a decent set of songs and a sympathetic producer who would recognise the strengths Glen possessed, someone who would recognise what made those earlier classics work.
Enter Julian Raymond and Howard Willing. Their arrangements and production are beautifully evocative of Campbell's greatest period. The Foo Fighter's Times Like These and Tom Petty's "Walls" echo Galveston with low tuned guitars and strings reminiscent of Al de Lory's original arrangements.
Using the Webb classics as a cornerstone the ten selections draw upon the literate work of John Lennon, Jackson Browne, Lou Reed, Tom Petty, Paul Westerberg, U2, The Foo's and Billie Joe. Raymond and Willing let Glen's voice take centre stage and with his sensitive interpretations and their evocative arrangements a hauntingly, beautiful album has emerged.
Simple really. Take a great singer, give him some great songs, mix in some sympathetic arrangements for strings and horns, throw in steel guitar, drums and keyboards and you have a classic record.
Highly recommended. Not a dud track to be heard.
on 26 October 2008
I saw Glen live the other day and what a surprise, aged 72 his voice was great and he didn't just rely on the hits. Some brave new choices on this new record, the highlight being Jackson Browne's 'These Days' now 37 years old but sounds as if it was written for Glen. I noticed on the credits that the musicians included Cheap Trick and Jason Falkner & Roger Manning from Jellyfish - interesting. Guess I'm Dumb for missing out on this when it was first released.
on 11 October 2008
Although the songs on this album are fairly contemporary, there is a classic feel to the whole enterprise. You forget that these are covers because the artist stamps them with his own unique sound, and at times the deep pile quality recalls Glen Campbell in his hey-day - it's that good.
For instance, he takes the slab of pulverising melodic rock that is `Times Like These' by Foo Fighters, then slows it down, injects it with a country pop feel and totally takes over ownership of the song. It's neither better nor inferior to the Foo's original, just satisfyingly different. Tom Petty's `Walls' is another high point and the song sounds like a distant cousin of `Galveston' - one of the very best songs Glen has ever recorded.
He's always had a lovely voice and it suits the largely excellent song selection like a glove. Opening track `Sing' is wonderful, and may even eclipse the Travis original; `Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)', originally recorded by Green Day, is another strong emotive track and could have been custom-written for him, it suits his style so perfectly. The disc ends with a nice, wistful version of `Grow Old With Me' - one of John Lennon's last songs, that appeared posthumously on an anthology of rare and unreleased tracks.
However, at just under 34 minutes and ten songs long, it's maybe a couple of songs too light. But overall this collection is superb, and for me the only weak points are the U2 cover `All I Want is You' which isn't their best song, and the following Lou Reed/Velvets song `Jesus' which is a trifle lacklustre.
No matter, this is tuneful, tastefully arranged, beautifully played and features a resurgent Glen Campbell in great voice. What more could any music lover ask for? Glen was 72 years old in April 2008, but he's still got 90% of the power and range in his voice that he had in his mid 1960s-mid 1970s peak, and at his age that is truly astonishing.
Glen Campbell was coaxed out of retirement by a certain Julian Raymond to make this album. It was he who selected all the songs in addition to arranging, co-producing and co-mixing the whole album. Our sincere thanks go to Mr Raymond then!
I'm going to see Glen at the Sage, Gateshead* in a couple of days, and after listening to this and seeing the great man perform four songs on Jools Holland's `Later' earlier this week, I can hardly wait!
* Addendum: *Saw him in concert, and despite a few 'senior' moments (forgetting the words, introducing a song out of order etc) he was great. The voice was fantastic, as was his legendary guitar-playing.
on 19 March 2009
A great album full of excellent music, I think this is Glen Campbell at his very best. Such a shame then that the whole album is spoiled by the wooly sound. At first I thought there must be something wrong with my hi-fi system, but the poor sound quality was evident in the car and everywhere else I tried. I am baffled, surely there is no excuse for such dreadful production these days? Is it me? Did I just get a dud copy?
on 20 September 2008
The album is excellent. The only track I am not to keen on though is sing. But why oh why did we in the UK not get the bonus tracks that American fans got?
Glen has been my favourite singer for 32 years and still is. And last year I had the great honour of Meet(ing) Glen Campbell. And for the poster who is going to the concert you are in for a treat. Urge all your friends to buy this album and go see him live.
on 5 September 2008
This is a surprisingly strong return, given that Mr Campbell is apparently now 72 and has had well documented problems of late. However, his voice holds up well especially given the material and atists he is covering (Travis, Tom Petty (x2), U2, Foo Fighters, The Replacements, Velvet Underground, Jackson Browne). The production is akin to some of his old recordings in his heyday. I agree that this works better for him - more than if he'd gone down the "Rick Rubin acoustic/pared back" route that suited Messrs. Cash and Diamond so much. Some of the tracks grow on you more with several plays [esp "Jesus" (Reed), "Grow Old With Me" (Lennon)]. For me the best are "Sadly Beautiful" (The Replacements) and Jackson Browne's "These Days". Of course this won't ever compare with those fantastic Jimmy Webb songs, but nonetheless an album worth buying.