As far as I’m concerned, with his recent comeback album, Glen Campbell has washed the has-been taint of Branson from his reputation. Now, a 16-track collection of his “Greatest Hits” reminds us why we ever loved him in the first place. These songs hold up, sounding very much of their time, yet timeless as well.
His monster ’70s country-rock hit “Rhinestone Cowboy” has become somewhat of a punch line, but a fresh listen reveals a still-infectious melody. But it doesn’t compare to the standards written by Jimmy Webb: “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” which are remarkably dark for tunes unfairly pegged as “easy listening.” They’re utterly sublime, as is a new-to-me “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife,” which sounds positively Bacharachian in its bittersweet way.
Two tracks from the aforementioned comeback disc close out this superb anthology: “Times Like These” and “These Days,” which cover Foo Fighters and Jackson Browne, respectively. The only disappointment is that Campbell’s version of Travis‘ “Sing” wasn’t also included, because it’s the one that boldly showed he still can. —Rod Lott