Friday, October 05, 2007
Glen Campbell: Good Times Again
Written by Fantasma el Rey
Glen Campbell: Good Times Again is seventy-five minutes of key performances from the Glen Campbell Good Time Hour, which ran on CBS from 1969 to 1972. The show spotlighted many top talents of the day and crossed all categories of music to deliver good time music to the masses.
Campbell started as a highly respected session guitarist, playing on many hit songs and for many well-known musicians and vocalists. Various artists sought his skills for their albums, ranging from Frank Sinatra and Merle Haggard to The Righteous Brothers and The Beach Boys. Campbell could play it all and did, showing off his talents every week playing with different people.
Campbell sings and plays his way through a number of his own top tunes as well on this musical trip down his memory lane. We get to hear his “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “True Grit” and “Gentle On My Mind.” He also sings a song that hits hard for many folks, the wonderful packing up and leaving of “By The Time I Get To Phoenix.” It is a song that has always moved me with its story of a man finally leaving his girlfriend after many attempts. While away on the road, he ponders what her day must be like, getting ready for work, trying to call him at home, and then finally going to bed at night thinking that this may well be the real thing.
The DVD is packed full of music and current commentary by Glen on what he thought about the person he was performing with. Linda Ronstadt, Bobbie Gentry, Anne Murray, and Cher represent the women that Glen could so easily duet with on tunes such as “Carolina In My Mind” (Ronstadt), “Let It Be Me” (Gentry), and two songs by the legendary Bob Dylan, “All I Really Want To Do” (Cher) and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” (Murray). “Don’t Think Twice” is an awesome example of how Glen, with some help, can turn a song into his own. Campbell’s work with Bobbie Gentry spawned a few albums and from the first line sung it’s easy to hear why. His sweet high pitched pining plays perfectly off of her solid lower range country girl voice.
On the other good foot we have Campbell picking fantastically along side musical icons the likes of Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Rick Nelson. It’s cool to see him get down and perform solid country tunes with Cash (“Folsom Prison Blues”) and Nelson (“Hello Walls”). It is also very nice to see him with Brother Ray on “Cryin’ Time,” another solid country sender. Campbell proves once again that he can cover all bases by playing with the younger Rick Nelson as they jam through “Louisiana Man,” simply great. Rick is one of my all-time favorites and this appearance is during his country-rock years, pushing forward and breaking away from his teen rocker image.
Campbell’s show had a tendency to lean towards the lighthearted side of life, many of his performances on the show where done in comical fashion. Such as him singing as a dump truck of flowers rains down upon him or in some good skits with the Smother Brothers. Some of the tunes have that “AM Gold” feel to them; soft, breezy, light sounds of the day. B.J. Thomas’ “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” is a good example.
Also on the DVD is an additional 15 minutes of interviews with Campbell giving more of his thoughts on the folks that he had on his show. Telling stories of how these friendships came to be and why they are so important. He has many stories to tell, like how he got the role in True Grit through John Wayne’s daughter’s love for his television show and how time passed and he saw Willie Nelson when his hair was long and he had become the outlaw we know him as today.
Glen Campbell: Good Times Again is a fun look back at a moment in the man’s career when he was on top of the world and on the cutting edge of breaking down musical dividers. Worth the time and viewing for those who may have missed the special when it was aired on PBS sometime in September.