* Prices may differ from that shown
I grew up listening to the music of Glen Campbell as my father was a huge fan and had many of his albums back in the 60s and early 70s.
At the time, Campbell was at the peak of his success as a solo singer.
Born in Arkansas in 1936, Campbell began his musical career as a session guitarist and singer, appearing on many classic recordings of the era, including "Tequila" by the Champs and "You've Lost That Loving Feelin'" by the Righteous Brothers. He toured with the Beach Boys and also played on "Pet Sounds".
My father frequently used to rave to me about how good a guitar player Campbell was when I was younger. In those days I didn't really appreciate his skills but its acknowledged these days that he is one of the greatest guitar players of all time.
When he broke out as a solo singer in the 1960s on the fabled Capitol record label, his greatest success was with recordings of songs written by Jimmy Webb, including "Galveston", "Witchita Lineman" and "Where's the Playground, Susie". My rudiments of American geography were gleaned from hearing "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" as a child.
Campbell's career went into decline in the late 70s and he has had battles with drugs and alcohol - the usual demons to hit successful artists unfortunately - and while his back catalogue will always keep him in work, as a fine singer and guitar player his talents hadn't been utilised properly for some time.
Producer Julian Raymond came up with the concept for "Meet Glen Campbell" which brought Campbell back to the Capitol fold in 2008. Raymond submitted songs to Campbell to choose for the album and the end result is Campbell's take on other artist's songs.
Raymond clearly is a fan of Campbell's Capitol work and tries to recreate the sound of his classic work on this album without making it sound dated, and to all extents and purposes, he has succeeded.
The album opens with Campbell's take on Travis' 2001 hit "Sing" and it provides an uplifting start to the album. Unlike other tracks on this album it doesn't deviate too far from the original however I don't find that a bad thing in this case - Campbell's voice, in spite of his age, is strong and clear and the backing track is a joy to hear.
"Walls" by Tom Petty is, on the other hand, completely removed from Petty's version and gets the full Capitol treatment here. The orchestration and Campbell's voice makes one wonder if they are hearing a classic Campbell track from 1969. Campbell's guitar playing on the bridge is a joy to hear and takes me straight back to my childhood. Another Petty song "Angel Dream" doesn't quite have the same pseudo Capitol sound but gives Petty's song a quite charming country sound and Campbell's vocal is clear as a bell.
For me, the best track on the album is "Times Like These", the Foo Fighters' 2003 hit. It has been completely reworked with an incredible guitar and orchestra backing and Campbell's vocal makes gives this song a melancholy which always existed in the lyrics of the original, but not on Dave Grohl's vocal. Once again we get the treat of Campbell's guitar playing on the bridge and it's a joy to hear a great song reinvented by a master of his craft.
Jackson Browne's "These Days" is the fifth track on the album and for a song which Browne ironically wrote when he was a teenager, seems perfect for a performer in the autumn of his career. Campbell's voice conveys longing and regret but retains an air of optimism.
The Replacements' "Sadly Beautiful" is an ode to fatherhood and Campbell, as the father of eight children, sings this with the voice of experience and whether you are a parent or not, you can't fail to be moved by this song.
Campbell then attempts what is arguably the best known song on this CD, U2's "All I Want is You". For me this is a fair attempt - it doesn't add anything to the original and lacks the upbeat charm of "Sing". The orchestration, guitars and banjo are fantastic but overall the song falls a little flat for me.
Campbell is a Christian and his musical nod to his faith on this album is his simple but effective cover of Lou Reed's "Jesus" which is quite simply beautiful and enables us to hear Campbell sing with conviction and contains some quite stunning guitar playing by George Doering.
When "Meet Glen Campbell" was released, the track most played to publicise it was "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" by Green Day and within the framework of this album you can see why - it takes a rock song and turns it into something full of true melody, orchestration and crystal clear tenor vocal. This is a great taster to what this album has and I really like how the song has been given new life here. Campbell's guitar playing can be heard clearly here and if you were unaware of Green Day's existence you would be hard pushed to know of its origins in rock music.
The final track on the album is Campbell's take on John Lennon's "Grow Old With Me" and while not one of my favourite songs I appreciate Campbell's interpretation of the song, and is a fitting end to this project.
Whether you have never heard of Glen Campbell before or have enjoyed his music for 40 years, "Meet Glen Campbell" is an effective and enjoyable musical project and one I would highly recommend, particularly if you appreciate the skills of a man who is both a talented singer and incredible guitar player. The fact he himself chose these classy tracks is also a testament to his musical knowledge.
The album is currently available on Amazon for £8.98.
For further information on Glen Campbell, visit his official website at
Disc #1 Tracklisting
3 Angel Dream
4 Times Like These
5 These Days
6 Sadly Beautiful
7 All I Want Is You
9 Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)
10 Grow Old With Me