Glen Campbell

Old Home Town

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After nearly two decades as a staple of the Capitol Records roster, Glen Campbell jumped ship to the Atlantic America imprint. Released in 1982, Old Home Town -- his first of three projects for the label -- is very much a reflection of the burgeoning MOR countrypolitan style that was taking over the genre. As the name intimates, Old Home Town is a reunion of sorts. Campbell is joined behind the scenes by producer Jerry Fuller, who was a fellow bandmate in the surf-rock guitar group the Champs. The selections recall the style and substance of his earlier LPs. Among them are some familiar names, primarily a trio of well-known singer/songwriters. Jimmy Webb supplies the lovely waltz-time ballad "I Was Too Busy Loving You," while David Pomeranz's affective and winsome "Old Home Town" was chosen as the title and the album's leadoff track. Campbell's take of the Paris Sisters hit "I Love How You Love Me" is refreshingly modern, with an arrangement that allows Campbell the opportunity to dust off his sturdy yet angelic falsetto. However, it is the inspired update of Paul McCartney's "Mull of Kintyre" that stands out from the rest. Campbell's earnest vocals draw upon his skills as an effective interpreter of sacred songs. Additionally, the multi-instrumentalist shows off a hidden talent for the bagpipes. Yes, the bagpipes. To a certain degree, the bluesy "On the Wings of My Victory" is infused with a soul-filled gospel flavor that few other country & western artists could genuinely replicate. Speaking of, "Blues (My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me)" has a jazzy ragtime feel that almost summons the style of Django Reinhardt's work with the Quintette du Hot Club de France. Comparatively harder driving is "A Few Good Men," one of two tunes contributed by Joe Rainey, who is arguably best known for the rural slice of life "I Love My Truck" -- which Campbell had actually covered several years earlier. Some purists considered this phase of Campbell's career as more water-treading than groundbreaking and his pop leanings no substitute for the earthier fare of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and the so-called "outlaw" contingency. However, in reality Campbell was simply maintaining an approach that had garnered him attention for the past 20 years. The trend would continue on his 1983 follow-up, Letter to Home, as Campbell headed away from Nashville West in favor of the real thing. He landed in Music City U.S.A. supported by a star-studded cast that boasted down-home participation from David Briggs (keyboards), Jerry Douglas (Dobro), and Emmylou Harris (vocals).

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