Last month the music world lost one of the true greats when Glen Campbell passed on. Campbell not only held his own as a top-tier talent, but also in terms of accomplishments over the last 60-plus years. He first found success as a session musician, having played on recordings by Frank Sinatra, The Monkees, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley and Nat King Cole, to name a few key artists. This led to work with The Beach Boys in which he was initially Brian Wilson's touring fill-in before playing on Pet Sounds. Campbell began rack up hit singles in the late 1960s, including "By The Time I Get To Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman" and "Gentle On My Mind," while also launching an acting career. He also became a regular on network teleivsion, hosting The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour for several years, before having further hits like "Rhinestone Cowboy," "Southern Nights" and "Country Boy (You Got Your Feet In L.A.)."
Live Anthology 1972 - 2001 fortunately focuses on a 29-year span when Glen Campbell was performing in peak form. Disc 1 of the set is a DVD, featuring a mix of live performances of many of Campbell's best known songs. Its "Bonus Material" section features 20-plus "additional tracks" including duets and medleys which feature other legends like Wayne Newton, Anne Murray, and Seals & Croft. Most of the material appears to be from the 1970s. Disc 2 is a 22-track CD with many of the major hits from Disc 1, but plenty of unique recordings not found on the DVD. Track 19, for example, is a Beach Boys medley, while track 21 is a cover of the Paul McCartney classic "Mull Of Kintyre." Whether you are watching Glen Campbell perform in concert, or simply listening to the audio of such, it remains clear that he was a master vocalist and guitarist, no matter the genre or tempo.
So, why would a career-spanning collection of a musical genius get a 9 out of 10 and not a perfect score? This collection has a few minor flaws to it. First, neither the four-panel insert within the case nor the chyron showing during each song tells you which show each performance is from; it is not clear if some of these were professionally-filmed concerts or television performances. Second, some of the performances from the DVD -- "Mary In The Morning" being one example -- appear to be lip-synched, which was normal for the era. Third, while the audio is problem-free, a lot of the footage is grainy, likely due to tape transfers. Fourth, while Campbell was very ill at the end of his career, he did make some excellent recordings and those should be represented in a proper career-spanning collection for Glen Campbell; Paul Westerberg has been quoted as saying that Campbell's 2008 cover of "Sadly Beautiful" is better than his original.
Any way you slice it, Glen Campbell deserves to be regarded of as both one of the all-time great country singers and one of the top session musicians of the 1960s, and Live Anthology 1972 - 2001 helps cement that legacy. Hopefully there is more vault to come from the Arkansas native.
Run Time: 140 minutes
Release Date: September 8, 2017