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Glen Campbell

Meet Glen Campbell – 2008 (Capitol)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Glen Campbell

The title of the new CD from Glen Campbell is disarming. What's to "meet?" After more than 4 decades and massive hits 40 years ago with "Wichita Lineman" and others, Campbell does not need any introduction.

However, one suspects that the intent is to show off Campbell's extensive new skills to a different audience because this is a 10-song covers album and not heavily country sounding. And we're not talking Williams, Haggard and Willie either. More like Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Foo Fighters, Velvet Underground and Green Day.

Now that the shock is over while giving a dismissive smirk, stop right there. The fact of the matter is that Campbell turns in his own readings on each of the songs. Campbell did not have a hand in choosing material. He left that to producer Julian Raymond, and he smartly generally stayed away from well-known material. They also fit the singer and his stage of life, in some cases looking back or still looking ahead (the closing Lennon/Ono song Grow Old With Me). The key ingredient is Campbell's voice, which is supple and in such good shape, it's hard to believe he's 72. There is a real tender quality when he tackles U2's All I Want Is You. and Green Day's looking back and ahead anthem Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) The vocal intensity continues on the Underground's Jesus. Musically, Campbell's banjo is very prominent (Angel Dream) with strings adding a glossy feel.

Campbell deserves a lot of credit for tackling these songs and possibly taking the heat. The title and music maybe out of left field, but the quality is something listeners should meet.