Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell: Live

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Recorded on July 4, 1969, at the Garden State Arts Center in New Jersey, this album is a good representation of Glen Campbell's music of the period, but perhaps not his usual live sound, complete with an orchestral accompaniment (conducted by Al DeLory), as well as a group of top L.A. session musicians who would normally not go on tour. Campbell himself was satisfied with the album, which contains most of his best-known numbers up to that point in his career (augmented by numbers like "The Impossible Dream" and "The Lord's Prayer"), done in a smooth, slickly professional fashion. There's perhaps a certain lack of spontaneity in the playing, owing to the fact that everyone was conscious of the fact that this show was being taped for a live album, but it's made up for by the sheer virtuosity, plus the quality of the recording, which captures the nuances of all the playing as well as Campbell's singing. It seems that the idea of orchestral accompaniment to a country-pop concert was new enough that the musicians weren't entirely comfortable at first with the idea, and that shows in the slight stiffness in some of the playing, especially in the early part of the show. And conspicuous by their absence are "Wichita Lineman" and "Galveston," two then very recent hits; Campbell, however -- amid several acknowledgements of his debt to composer Jimmy Webb -- does make up for it with a beautifully realized rendition of "Didn't We," taking full advantage of the orchestra's presence, with an arrangement that emulates the one used on the Richard Harris original. In the end, this is a highly polished concert recording if not the most exciting ever heard, with Campbell getting ample room not only to work out his very attractive singing but also give a vivid display of his talents on the electric and acoustic guitar. There are also some then topical phrases in his talk to the audience that are quaintly entertaining today in ways that no one could have anticipated in 1969. [Live languished for decades on the out of print lists, but in 2008 Beat Goes On finally reissued it on compact disc, with superb sound and highly informative annotation as well.]

blue highlight denotes track pick