20 GREATEST HITS
Of an illegal act or not, I'm going to make a confession. So get ready, John Law. I recently burned Rhinestone Cowboy onto my latest mix CD.
OK, as far as crimes (both lawbook and social) go, there are lots worse. Glen Campbell isn't exactly cool by today's standards, or even by the post-post-ironic standards of those vinyl-loving recophiles deep in the dark urban underground.
But there's something absolutely wonderful about the words, "I've been walking these streets so long, singin' the same old song," the classic imagery of hustle being the name of the game, words never more true in Nashville than now.
Indeed, Rhinestone Cowboy is the perfect song to have blaring out of a cheap set of tin speakers atop old country music's plastic tombstone, or would be had the genre given up before the inevitable appearance of Chris Gaines.
Digression aside, Glen Campbell's 20 Greatest Hits is a wonderful album, back from when songs such as Gentle on My Mind could not only be catchy, but also be about something sung well in the absence of lame '80s wimp-rock drum machines or pseudo-Christian motorhome parables.
Ooh, I'm on a roll here.
The bottom line is Campbell's a songwriter, a typically doomed one, ultimately, but that keeps him interesting. He Ain't Heavy, Wichita Lineman and Galveston, a song that all but saved a dying town tourism-wise, are all darts, aimed right where we need them. Things get a little bogged down in the modern songs, but the inclusion of those already mentioned makes that irrelevant.
And, despite assertions by my girlfriend that Rhinestone Cowboy is about a friendly gay male prostitute, Campbell's songs are like a breath of air, not fresh, but delightfully familiar like grandma's cooking or the scent of whisky on grandpa's shirt.
1.By The Time I Get To Phoenix
06.King Of The Road (Instrumental)
08.The Impossible Dream (The Quest)
09.Just To Satisfy You
10.Somebody Like That
12.If Not For You
13.He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
15.Both Sides Now
16.Gentle On My Mind
18.Mr. Tambourine Man (Instrumental)
19.(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
20.I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry