R.I.P.: Glen Campbell (A Slight Dissent)

Best album (only one I have): Bobby Gentry and Glen Campbell

Only vocal performance I really treasure: “Wichita Lineman”

And, sorry, Johnny Cash had my country TV show in high school.

Also, N.B.: Number of Campbell listings in John Morthland’s The Best of Country Music: 0

Now, that said, I will let my memorial be a quote from the preternaturally fair-minded Bill C. Malone in his Country Music U.S.A.:

Campbell, from Delight, Arkansas [a plus in itself], finally moved from undeserved obscurity when he made his very popular recording in 1966 of John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind.” Campbell had spent much of his life as a session musician in Los Angeles, where he contributed to the fame of other people. In the summer of 1968 he became the summer replacement for the Smothers Brothers, and he charmed his viewers with an easy, relaxed personality, a supple tenor voice (sharply honed through a short stint with the Beach Boys), and his guitar virtuosity. Campbell’s singing was pop-oriented, and he gravitated toward structurally sophisticated songs such as those written by Jim Webb (“By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston”), but he maintainrf a down-home atmosphere with his high-pitched country laugh and patter, and through the occasional guest appearance of his charming parents, who were indeed rural and folksy. Campbell’s own show in 1969 was smooth, fast-paced and countrypolitan in mood. Whatever the misgivings some country fans might have had about the style of music heard on the Glen Campbell show, most were probably delighted at the success that one of their own had attained.

 

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