Thursday, October 22, 2009

A few more words about the Rhinestone Cowboy


Further evidence that I possess an addictive personality:

After seeing Glen Campbell last Friday in North Carolina, I came home and set about trying to get my hands on everything he recorded.

This is nothing new. I am an "all or nothing at all" kind of guy, especially when it comes to music. What can I say! It soothes the soul.

Anyway, I tracked down the second volume of a CD trilogy Capitol Nashville released in the mid-1990s that chronicles Glen's years on that label. I bought the first volume the year I graduated from high school, but never followed up on the other two.

Big mistake.

Both are long out of print. The third volume now sells for anywhere from $65 to $100. But, I secured the second set -- an unopened copy -- for a whopping four bucks. It's easily my favorite Glen Campbell collection to date.

My favorite tracks are the live and rare songs and the album cuts that never became hits. One is Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind." Glen delivers a beautiful cover, one that threatens to make my top 10 list.

He probably owes his career in part to songwriter Jimmy Webb. A handful of Webb gems are here, including a nice live performance of "Didn't We" and the often maligned psychedelic "MacArthur Park." I don't care what you say. I like that song.

(Did you know that Jimmy Webb wrote "Highwayman"? Me either.)

Other rarities are covers of Porter Wagoner's "The Last Thing on my Mind" and Paul Simon's "Homeward Bound" and a stunning rendition of "Greensleeves."

The hits are here, too. "Gentle on my Mind" and "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Houston (I'm Coming to See You)."

Wish I could find even a burned copy of Volume 3. Alas, alas. This is what happens when you don't buy something when you see it.

For once, though, I'm glad for my nutty obsessions. I don't know how you feel about it, but to me there's nothing like discovering a gem of an album by a favorite artist.

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