Wichita Linemanby Glen Campbell
This disc, a certified double-platinum album, captures Campbell's appeal at his most mainstream, mixing mid-tempo country-pop, spiced by a smooth if unambitious cover of Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" and the prettiest version of Tim Hardin's "Reason to Believe" ever done. The latter two make the album hipper than Campbell himself seemed at the time to most of us. On the other hand, there's ample romantic pop here, including his heartfelt, string-laden performance of the McKuen/Brel "If You Go Away" and "Words." Right there at the center of Campbell's appeal is the still-beautiful title track (for which he had composer Jimmy Webb's organ hauled to the studio to re-create its exact sound from the demo) and "Dreams of the Everyday Housewife," alongside mid-tempo country-pop like Billy Ed Wheeler's sprightly "Ann" and Campbell's own "Fate of Man." Sonny Curtis' "The Straight Life" is closer in spirit to the Mary Tyler Moore theme song (still a year or so away) than to the work of an ex-Buddy Holly compadre, and Sonny Bono's singsongy divorce ode, "You Better Sit Down Kids," did little to enhance the future congressman's musical credibility. He saves the best for last, "That's Not Home," the most heartfelt song here. The production is excellent throughout, if a little overly reliant on strings. Wichita Lineman was reissued in an upgraded, remastered CD edition in August of 2001 as part of Capitol-Nashville's Cornerstones series, with somewhat crisper sound than the 1996 vintage Capitol CD.
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There are a few Greatest Hits CDs out there but they simply cannot do justice to the four essential Glen Campbell albums: 1) Gentle On My Mind, 2) By the Time I Get to Phoenix, 3) Wichita Lineman and 4) Galveston. The Wichita Lineman album has the title hit as well as the hit "Dreams of the Everyday Housewife". But along with them are songs written by Otis Redding, the Bee Gee's, Sonny Bono, Tim Hardin and more. A Classic country-pop album from 1968!