DIARY - 13 SEPTEMBER 2009 - GLEN CAMPBELL CD REVIEW
MEET GLEN CAMPBELL (CAPITOL)
GLEN CAMPBELL - ST KILDA LINEMAN
Campbell cut this ambitious album of poignant pop covers at 72 he had
a big advantage over the late Johnny Cash when Rick Rubin rode to his
The voice of Campbell, unlike the unfortunate hombre in Reno, was not
So the Rhinestone Cowboy, despite a well-publicised DUI bust in Phoenix,
Arizona, 2003, is in much better nick for his 60th studio album featuring
production by Julian Raymond and Howard Willing.
And, like his plethora of hits with Jim Webb songs, he has impeccable
taste choosing ballads by rock and pop artists here.
It's no surprise Campbell eases comfortably into Tom Petty's Walls
and Angel Dream after opening with Francis Healy's Travis tune
Now, that's not old Randy Travis - who toured here many moons ago - but
the wee Scot lads named Travis of the indie alternate persuasion.
"I dreamed you, I saw your face/ caught my lifeline when drifting
through space/ I saw an angel, I saw my fate/ I can only thank God it
was not too late." - Angel Dream - Tom Petty.
Walls features writer Petty's lyrical extension of the historic
Dick Feller penned hit Some Days Are Diamonds (Some Days Are Stone)
with "some days are diamonds/ some days are rocks."
Campbell may be more familiar with John Denver's 1981 hit but nails Healy's
The strings may appear to replace twang in parts of Walls and Angel
Dream but it's the artist's own 12-string guitar that triumphs.
Those gems are polished again when Campbell reprises U2 song All I
Want Is You as the narrator chooses true love ahead of "diamonds
on a ring of gold."
It seems diamond metaphors replace Wichita, Phoenix and Galveston locales
in the Webb songbook once strip-mined by Campbell.
Close your eyes and you can hear why expatriate Australasian superstar
Keith Urban was a huge fan of Campbell in his adolescence and Petty down
It's not just the super smooth vocal delivery but the guitar slinging
savvy that landed Glen all those Beach Boys sessions and live gigs.
And, of course, his membership of the Wrecking Crew with Leon Russell
and Larry Knechtel who died last month at 69.
SHUFFLE ON A GREEN DAY
stopped my rambling/ I don't do too much gambling these days." -
These Days - Jackson Browne.
is nothing to frighten the horses as Campbell rides the ruptured romance
of Paul Westerberg's Sadly, Beautiful.
Campbell is not a replacement but accomplished interpreter, milking
every nuance of the original.
He chances his arm following life choices blindly and turns the Billy
Joe Armstrong Green Day hit Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)
into a country shuffle, replete with banjo and mandolin by George
That's real re-invention for a song that once had political pretensions.
The singer is equally at ease with the Foo Fighters classic Times
Beaconsfield mine disaster survivors Todd Russell and Brandon Webb were
indeed channelling Campbell and Alan Jackson - not just the Foo Fighters
- as they sang for rescuers.
Perhaps their misery morphed into prophesy on those long subterranean
nights in the deep north of Van Diemen's Land.
Meanwhile above ground the mastery of Campbell's crooning in Times
Like These is delivered like a sibling of Jackson Browne's These
Campbell is an easy on the ear as Browne before he hardened his music
with strident social and political comment.
RISES FROM VELVET UNDERGROUND
"Grow old along with me/ the best is yet to be/ when our time has
come/ we will be as one." - Grow Old With Me - John Lennon-Yoko
of a surprise might be the soft gospel of Lou Reed's Jesus until
you find a quote from Ephesians 5:19-20 on the inside sleeve with
a message from Campbell.
Campbell chooses a fitting finale - the obscure John Lennon-Yoko
Ono paean Grow Old With Me.
personally approved it for Campbell who explained: "That's
just a beauty. Yoko loved it, too. She sent us a note."
So why does Campbell sound so fresh and happy?
Well, producers Raymond and Willing provide lustrous string and
horns orchestral backing to fertilise a musical bed dug by Campbell's
famed guitar playing, Marty Rifkin's pedal steel guitar and George
Doering's acoustic guitar, banjo and mandolin flourishes.
Cheap Trick chappies Rick Nielsen on guitar and Robin Zander and
diverse Campbell clan also have guest vocal roles with extended
Campbell clan - daughters Debby and Ashley and their step siblings
Dillon, Cal and Shannon.
replete with avid reviews in a critical rock press, ensures further longevity
for a four times wed artist whose vocals have not been ravaged by years
of living on the edge - even in his twilight years.
Campbell, now 73 and father of eight, proves a worthy survivor for his
summer return tour of Australia.
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