Wednesday, August 09, 2017

GLEN CAMPBELL "I'm Not Gonna Miss You"

He told you he was sick. He didn't disguise the ravages of aging, and as he made his way through his farewell tour, he wanted people to know that he might lose his way during a song, or be a little more "sloppy" than his critics would want. He didn't want pity over Alzheimers, he wanted acceptance of reality.

Do we need a primer on Glen Campbell? You know he was one of the great All-American country-pop stars of the 60’s and 70’s. His hit songs are a road map of the nation: “Wichita Lineman,” “By the Time I get to Phoenix” and “Galveston.” His feet were planted in the middle of the road, which meant that most everyone liked “Gentle on My Mind” and “Rhinestone Cowboy,” whether they actually bought copies or not. To paraphrase a Dylan line, when you heard Glen, or saw him on TV, the country music was soft, and there was "nothing, really nothing to turn off." In fact, that apple-cheeked smile could put you in a "good time" mood, to borrow the title of his TV series.

What some might not know is that Campbell began his career as a versatile studio musician, part of the “Wrecking Crew,” hired guns ready to work behind anyone in any style needed. He backed Bobby Darin, The Monkees, Dean Martin, Nancy Sinatra, Elvis, Merle Haggard and many others. He was even part of The Beach Boys for some mid-60’s touring.

It was “Gentle on My Mind” in 1967 that made Campbell a superstar. He didn’t have the identifiable voice of a George Jones, or the indelible features of Johnny Cash, or the easy charm of the real “middle of the road” bunch like Andy Williams or Dean Martin, but he was a consistent and welcome presence through the late 60's and early 70's, enjoying hit songs and a hit TV variety show.

The middle of the road got muddy in the late 70’s, when the hits weren’t coming as often. He began 1980 with yet another divorce: “Perhaps I’ve found the secret for an unhappy private life. Every three years I go and marry a girl who doesn’t love me, and then she proceeds to take all my money.”  

 Although there would be further problems with drugs and alcohol, and even a few days in jail, Campbell settled into the familiar patterns of the aging country-pop star, including some time in Branson, Missouri helming his own theater.

  When God gives you talent, you use it, and keep on using it. Campbell made records even when Internet "sharing" took most of the profits. You avoid walking in manure, so Glen was among the many who tried to ignore the crap from a few misguided "fans." He knew nobody who paid money to see him would be the type to go from forum to forum dumping entire discographies. His family will ignore the "tributes" from some torrent "shout box" where R.I.P. is below a complete giveaway of his life's work, all for a "nice" comment to the uploader. No, some fat retired retard isn't as important as Campbell, and his sorrow over Glen's passing, as expressed in "here's my linky-winky to the goodies" is as hollow as a donkey's asshole. 

     Creative people, when they are presented with life-changing illnesses, often produce their best work. The final album from Leonard Cohen, “You Want it Darker,” is an example. While we tend to think of Glen Campbell as just a pleasant country-pop star, he took his craft seriously, and like Johnny Cash another star given only a few more creative years, he was determined to make the time matter. Campbell went into the studio to record a new album, and tracks that could be released when he was no longer even capable of reading the reviews.   

       Some people retire to a useless life of gluttony and complaining. The whine about every little ailment like they're dying, and they're not (unfortunately). If they have a music blog, it's too likely to be a steal-fest where they give away tons of music to get some banner-ad-share money. If there's any text to go along with the link, it's stolen words from somebody else, since these maggots have no minds. If they write anything it's just "I love music, this makes me feel good when I'm not scratching my hemorrhoids, checking my saggy lips for signs of palsy, or rubbing my oh-so-sensitive skin with creme I stole from the drugstore. Pray for me. I've said I'm dying at least once every week, but who knows, next week I may face that final sunset, without a last meal at Applebees."

      A real man like Glen Campbell, faced the end with nobility. A short "farewell" tour went on for nearly a year, despite the strain and the possibility of some on-stage disaster. Instead of sentiment, there was "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," a piece that belongs next to Johnny Cash's cover of "Hurt" or anything on the last Cohen album. There's even a bit of Lennon to it (a downward chord change similar to "Isolation") that tells you this art based on honesty.

“Ghost on the Canvas” in 2010 was the warning sign that Glen’s health was failing. His “Goodbye Tour” ended before Christmas of 2012. “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” reflecting on the nature of Alzheimer’s, was released along with a documentary in the fall of 2014.

Glen’s final recordings were held up for several years, so that his fans would get the surprise of some new material, and a reminder that Campbell was still around. “Adios” was in stores in April. Lennon once sang, "You don't know what you've got till you lose it," but one thing about the passing of an artist, is that the finality does make what remains all the more precious. Campbell was a pop artist, but his death has marked a reappraisal of his work. Most of it still seems pretty lightweight, but that was part of his charm and his legacy. Many of his songs were just for "good times." But quite a few reflected the every day struggles of the working man; the "Wichita Lineman," the man facing truths in "Galveston," the man dealing with another dream gone wrong in "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," and the truth behind the glitter on "The Rhinestone Cowboy." 

Glen Campbell 
  I’m Not Gonna Miss You   Instant download or listen on line. No Zinfart passwords, malware or spyware anywhere.

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