Glen Campbell

20 Greatest Hits [Capitol]

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This isn't Campbell's greatest hits by any means, a definitive collection of which on one CD has so far eluded Capitol Records. On the other hand, it is a good selection of some of Campbell's most impressive cuts, singles, and album tracks alike, in a multitude of settings and genres: his own most durable hits ("By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Galveston," "Wichita Lineman," "Rhinestone Cowboy," "Southern Nights"), outstanding covers of other artists' hits ("The Dock of the Bay," "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"), good duets ("Scarborough Fair/Canticle"), and live cuts ("Classical Gas"), in country, pop, rock, and gospel. There's just enough here that will be familiar from the radio that casual fans won't be disappointed, and enough that they would only know from his albums (if they had them) that it's also a voyage of discovery. This album is worthwhile even for those who already own one of his other compilations -- the hard country-rock "Somebody Like That," from 1967, is a punchy, catchy performance that ought to have been a single and could've been another "Gentle on My Mind" with more of an edge, and might've made him a rival to the likes of Johnny Rivers; while his version of "If Not for You," if not as sweetly lyrical as George Harrison's cover, has a lean, easygoing quality and some superb playing on several guitars. The remastering, in high-definition digital audio, doesn't make a world of difference, though it does perhaps bring out details slightly more sharply. In all, this is a fair cross section of Campbell's work -- indeed, if there were, say, a complete Glen Campbell box on Capitol, this might be the perfect sampler for it, representing some of the best of it.

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