Glen Campbell

The Best of the Glen Campbell Music Show

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Like John Denver, Glen Campbell was appreciated by his most sizable audience a couple of generations ago, and to quote the very hip Sam the Sham, Campbell's showmanship is about as "L7" -- or square -- as one could get. But calling this artist square isn't totally fair to Campbell's rich history and importance, and there is much on this DVD that rises above his massive appeal to the mainstream. The Best of the Glen Campbell Music Show is chock-full of great material. "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," the second song in, is a solid performance with the vocals perfect and more soulful than Campbell displays when he goes into full entertainment mode for his celebrated TV show. There are nuggets like the orchestrated "Mary in the Morning," "Try a Little Kindness," and Jimmy Webb's "Gentle on My Mind," the huge string of hits culled from the program along with lesser-known Webb compositions -- "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" and "It Must Be a Sin." What's missing is narration that tells the story of Campbell, how he worked with Rick Nelson, the Beach Boys, and so many other music legends. It's strictly a music program, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have some extraordinary aspects. A set of performances with songwriter Webb on the piano in 1975 is pure magic. The medley of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman," "Galveston" (different renditions than the ones performed earlier on the DVD), and "Honey Come Back" along with Webb classics made popular by Richard Harris, "Didn't We" and "MacArthur Park," runs only 14 minutes, but it is a highlight and most impressive. There's also footage taped in Dublin in 1978, with the latter-day Campbell performing "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Southern Nights." Of course, the music is very consistent all the way through, the singer performing in his trademark style -- just a guy strumming the guitar or standing on-stage for a solo vocal. You won't get Bob Dylan's wit or Lou Reed's angst; this is homogenized pop for the John Davidson and Mac "Stop and Smell the Roses" Davis set -- for fans of country music and those who like music delivered by television in the days before MTV and VH1. The Best of the Glen Campbell Music Show will satisfy his fan base, but it could have been much more (see Tim Buckley's My Fleeting House DVD as just one example). A four-page insert is included.

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