Glen Campbell – See You There

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glencampbellalbumBut don’t let Glen Campbell’s advanced age (77) and recent diagnosis with Alzheimer’s Disease sway you from giving See You There – new recording of his old compositions – a listen. Campbell’s voice remains strong and this treasure chest of songs could easily be described as hauntingly beautiful.

The album opens with two heartfelt, melancholy tracks, “Hey Little One” and “Wichita Lineman”. In the first, Campbell impresses with a subtle vibrato in conjunction with the guitar’s tremolo. The mid-song modulation is a great effect. The second track “Wichita Lineman” is another timeless classic in which his voice adds balance to the somber track. Changing out of the slow lane on this country highway, “Gentle On My Mind” is more upbeat with some creative mandolin and pedal-steel guitar.

“I Wish You Were Here” captures another heartbreaking experience of lovers being separated and one’s desire to reunite. Campbell harmonizes and croons with sincerity. “Waiting on the Comin’ of My Lord” is another up-tempo song about gracefully accepting that life will inevitably end one day. Its intricate arrangement adds to it’s overall beauty.

“What I Wouldn’t Give” plays again upon the redundant theme of lost love. It’s a bit dreary and slow and unfortunately doesn’t demonstrate how wonderful Campbell’s voice can be. Thankfully, another classic and interestingly controversial tune follows. “Galveston” is another great representation of Campbell’s trademark style. “While I watch the cannons flashing/I just clean my gun/Then I dream of Galveston” sends mixed messages of whether the song is patriotic or anti-war.

Originally written about the breakup between two lovers, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” changes the mood yet again. The original version won several awards and if this version were released as a single again today, Campbell’s voice would unquestionably attract quite a bit of attention. “There’s No Me…Without You” is another song heavily influenced by the idea of bringing two people back together again. However, this reconnection will be made in heaven. The arrangement is simple – guitar, keys and vocals. This arrangement adds to the gravity of its message. The optimistic “True Grit” brings us closer to the end of the album. It’s positive lyrics, “We’ll all find the sun one day.” can only leave the listener feeling hopeful and with a smile on their face.

No surprise, the highlight of See you There  is “Rhinestone Cowboy.”  Gone is the original’s over the top orchestration. And with this, the force of Campbell’s voice simply accompanied by an electric guitar is almost more impressive as the original and in some ways more emotional. The album ends with a redux of  “Waiting On the Coming of My Lord” featuring Mariachi musician Jose Hernandez. It’s fun and upbeat but not a necessary addition, but then again any new recordings at this later stage in Campbell’s life is a bonus.

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