The track selection of the second in a three-volume series is a little less impressive than its predecessor, mostly because the previously unissued material is less intriguing -- the 1971 version of Buddy Holly's "Oh Boy!" is the highlight, a surprisingly hot rendition of the rock & roll standard that shows another side of Campbell's virtuosity; his version of "The Last Thing on My Mind" wouldn't trouble anyone else who's covered the song, and "Don't It Make You Want to Go Home" is about on a par with his released material from 1971, a good but not exceptional or surprising cover of a Joe South song. The rest is an engaging mix of singles, important album cuts, and rarities, such as his version of "Greensleeves" from a limited-edition vinyl release; it's always good to hear Campbell do any Jimmy Webb song, but his live recording of "Macarthur Park" only really catches fire in the last two minutes, where the guitar comes in to provide something unique to the performance. This and the rest all sound very good, and the annotation, despite a few digressions, is fairly thorough -- as with the previous volume in the series, however, the seemingly random order of the songs and the intermixing of multi-million-selling hits, album tracks, and outtakes is certain to confuse the casual listener.
Essential, Vol. 2 Review
by Bruce Eder