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Box Sets

Fri., Dec. 12, 2003

Box Sets

Glen Campbell

The Legacy: 1961-2003 (Capitol) Last month, the Rhinestone Cowboy found himself back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons: a blood-alcohol level that would sober Nick Nolte and the ill-informed decision to plant a knee into one of his arresting officers' thighs. This 4-CD, 80-song box casts the Arkansas native in a much better light, namely as one of American pop's most skilled musicians and leading vocal interpreters. Glen Campbell was something of a Zelig in the early rock & roll years, backing Ricky Nelson on "Travelin' Man," Elvis on "Viva Las Vegas," and the Beach Boys on Pet Sounds, but rights fees being what they are, The Legacy confines itself to his solo output, of which there's plenty. Too much, in fact: Campbell tackles everything from Simon & Garfunkel's "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" and Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" to "The William Tell Overture" and Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle." The crown jewels in Campbell's catalog remain, of course, his piercingly poignant voicings of Jimmy Webb's songs: the wistful "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," languid "MacArthur Park," operatic "Galveston," and overcast "Highwayman." Conveniently, all these, plus "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Where's the Playground Susie?," are available on Capitol's single-disc All the Best, released earlier this year. Unless you're the type who trolls eBay for the original manuscript of "Dreams of the Everyday Housewife," All the Best is probably the safer bet. But buy something, because those legal bills are bound to be steep. -- Christopher Gray

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