“Glen Campbell, Rhinestone Cowboy, dead at 81” hardly tells the story.
Most Americans, my own self included, knew nothing about Glen Campbell until The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour first appeared on television in 1969.
For many young Americans concerned with stopping the Vietnam War, touting the virtues of sex, drugs and Rock and Roll, Campbell was an object of derision. Campbell’s show was a mix of country and pop music infused with humor. The Goodtime Hour lasted four years and not only made Glen Campbell a household name for many older, blue collar Americans, it introduced other fine musicians like Johnny Hartford, the man who stood up in the audience and began playing the banjo at the beginning of his shows.
I saw Hartford once in a small venue in Memphis, years later, where he walked out, said nothing, put down a small mat, scattered sand on it, went somewhere else in his mind and began playing the fiddle, singing, and doing the soft shoe all at the same time.
I never saw Glen Campbell in person, but I enjoyed a lot of his music through songs like “Wichita Lineman”, and, of course, "Rhinestone Cowboy".
All evidence points to Glen Campbell being a very traditional person, with a loving family, who had a lot of musical talent. With a Scots name like Campbell he was interested in that heritage and learned to play the bagpipe.
Over the years Campbell played with many other musicians. Here he is with Roy Clark playing, “Ghost Riders in the Sky”.
When it became known that Mr. Campbell had Alzheimer’s disease his family took him on a final tour. At that point he no longer had any short term memory, had to be told what song to play next, and when Alzheimer’s came up in a segment recorded at home, he appeared shocked to find out that he had it. Of course, mercifully, he probably remembered nothing of that conversation five minutes later.
His final studio album was titled, “Adios” and appears to have been a collection of his favorite songs.
His last song was a tearjerker.
Early on I was surprised to find that Campbell was from my home state, Arkansas. Not just from Arkansas; he was from Delight. Delight is not exactly on the road to anywhere. It is in a beautiful area of the state in the heart of the Ouachita Mountains in the southwestern part of the state. Glen Campbell's family took him back to Delight to be buried.
What follows is a shameless advertisement for the state I still think of as home.
The following images are from vacation sites near Delight.
Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge with view:
Waterfall at Lake Catherine State Park
Experienced Kayakers love the streams in the Ouachita Mountains. There are a number of Category V streams there providing a challenge to the very best.
Cossatot River State Park - Natural Area near Mena, Arkansas. One of the finest whitewater streams in mid-America