Glen Campbell: See You There

See You There features new, stripped-down versions of some of his most popular singles, this time without the lush strings and countrypolitan production of his youth. His voice has also aged.

Glen Campbell

See You There

Label: Surfdog
US Release Date: 2013-08-13
UK Release Date: 2013-08-12

Glen Campbell originally recorded the songs on See You There back in 2011 during his Ghost on the Canvas sessions. The more recent release features new, stripped-down versions of some of his most popular singles, this time without the lush strings and countrypolitan production of his youth. His voice has also aged. Campbell used to sound preternaturally young. Now his vocals range from the sweet to the raw and throaty.

This works to Campbell’s advantage on many of the tunes. He never sounded like the hobo who bummed around trains on John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind”. Now Campbell spits out lines such as “knowing I’m not shackled by forgotten words and bonds and ink stains that have dried upon some line” like a person who has learned that life is more than pieces of paper. The experience of time and memory reveals what truly binds people together. Another good example of this can be found in the updated rendition of “Rhinestone Cowboy”. Back in the day, the introductory lyrics about him “walking these streets so long / Singing the same old songs / I never crack in the dirty sidewalks of Broadway” seemed like a youthful boast. Today, the track conveys a more convincing truth about the compromises one needs to make to be successful. The song comes off as a meta-song: its slick production was one of the concessions he had to make for “Rhinestone Cowboy” to be a hit; now he can perform the song simply and honestly.

Other cuts do not fare quite as well. When Campbell crowns in his old man voice, “She was 21 / When I left Galveston,” one imagines he’s singing about his daughter or even granddaughter more than a lover. And on “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, when he emotes “She just didn’t know / I would really go," the lyrics unfortunately suggest his closeness to death more than moving on. And changes in society have made “Wichita Lineman” seem as dated as “Come Josephine in My Flying Machine”. Does the sexist term “lineman” still exist? Is someone still needed to check telephone lines in a cellphone/smartphone world? Whatever.

Despite these problems, See You There is still quite a marvelous record with many more peaks than valleys. Of particular merit is Campbell’s new version of “Hey Little One” where he punches out the word “Hey” and lets it linger in the air for full effect. It suggests strength and weakness simultaneously in the sense that if the “little one” stays, the singer will be stalwart. However, he is weak without her. And there are two versions of the “Waiting on the Comin’ of My Lord” on the album. The first version features light accompaniment and suggests what happens to all of us: we die alone. Campbell sings poignantly and is never cloying. The second version comes as a bonus cut some 40 seconds after the end of the track before and features Jose Hernandez and Mariachi Del Sol De Mexico. Something more spiritual happens as a result. The other performers reveal because we all will die, we are never alone, but will be together in death. The metaphor of waiting for the lord to arrive as a twist on one day we will all meet our maker comes off as hopeful. And all I want to know is, how do you like your blue-eyed boy, Mr. Death. He may not be dead yet, but he sounds as ready as one can ever be. In the meantime on this, Campbell’s 62 studio album, he knows he will see as all there eventually.


To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

Keep reading... Show less

Barry Lyndon suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

Keep reading... Show less

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow shines on her impressive interpretation of Fontella Bass' classic track "Rescue Me".

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow pays tribute to the classic Chicago label Chess Records on her new album Playing Chess, which was produced by Steve Greenberg, Mike Mangini, and the legendary Betty Wright. Unlike many covers records, LeGrow and her team of musicians aimed to make new artistic statements with these songs as they stripped down the arrangements to feature leaner and modern interpretations. The clean and unfussy sound allows LeGrow's superb voice to have more room to roam. Meanwhile, these classic tunes take on new life when shown through LeGrow's lens.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.