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Reviewed by R. David Smola
uring the small interview snippets included in the Crossroads Guitar Festival DVD, Vince Gill remarks that rock has a lot of guitarists considered to be among the very best, but country music has about a dozen. Glen Campbell is one of that dozen – his session work with the Beach Boys, Sinatra, the Mamas and the Papas, and the Righteous Brothers enabled him to launch an incredibly successful solo career. In addition to the man’s ridiculous ability to pick that guitar, he knows how to deliver a hit vocally. As he explains during the interview portions of this DVD, he’s always tried to let the song be the star and not get in its way.
Good Times Again grabs performance clips from The Glen Campbell Good Time Hour, the variety show which ran from 1969 – 1972 for 91 episodes. Guest performances and sketch comedy were featured, but the DVD focuses on the musical performances – particularly duets Campbell shared with some of the biggest stars of the day. The DVD features present-day clips of Campbell reminiscing about the show and the performers featured. It’s a shame that most folks today, if they think about Glen Campbell at all, think about his DUI arrest and photo from The Smoking Gun several years ago, or his torrid affair with controversial country vixen Tanya Tucker in the late ‘70s, but Campbell bridged country and pop flawlessly by cutting memorable sing-a-long hits like “Wichita Lineman” (here he shares a priceless anecdote about how Jimmy Webb wrote it in twenty minutes), “Galveston” (which was brought to him by Don Ho; yep, Don fucking Ho) and John Hartford’s brilliant “Gentle On My Mind.” Performances of each of those are included on the DVD (including a duet with Hartford), but the duets with the other stars are the real gems of this release. Campbell gets to croon with Roger Miller on “King of the Road,” Ray Charles on “Cryin’ Time,” and B.J. Thomas on “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.”
The clothes are deeply disturbing and the sets look cheesy and dated, but the music is great. Campbell’s hair looks like it’s the long lost cousin of NFL studio commentator and former Dallas Cowboy and coach Jimmy Johnson’s. I am sure the ozone sustained some deep wounds due to all the hairspray used to create that magic shell, but that doesn’t take away from the music. The additional interview footage included as the sole extra offers insight into Campbell’s approach and artistry. He is a pioneer, and as important in bridging the pop and country worlds as the Eagles.