Music Monday with PLC is a weekly feature written by my husband, Pat.
Find out the back story + check out the full archives HERE .
Glen Campbell : Ghost on the Canvas
I guess there is no good disease to have. The very nature of the word and concept itself just screams, “Here comes a challenge.” Some are easily manageable, some not so much. And some are not manageable at all.
To my knowledge, Casey Kasem never made the definitive “American Top 40, Disease Edition.” So it is really hard, and almost silly, to try and debate which is the worst disease to have, but we all know one will effect each and every one of us at some point in our lives. It is like the old debate of whether you would rather be blind or deaf. The only answer is: I guess it depends what you were looking at, or what you were listening to at the time. So what is the worst disease to have? The answer: the one that you or a loved one has. Here is to the challenge: to defeat, to manage, to accept.
“Good Times, Bad Times, You Know I’ve Had My Share”.
The old strategy of war says, “Take away the head and the body will die.” Unfortunately, somebody told this secret to the Alzheimer’s disease. And most unfortunately, Glen Campbell has Alzheimer’s. With this knowledge, he recorded and released his final album Ghost on the Canvas (2011, Surf Dog Records). And it is one truly great album. A poignant farewell gift to his fans, to his family, and to this world. All done beautifully through the power of music. The album’s title track is a phenomenal song written by the one and only Paul Westerberg (The Replacements). He even makes a guest appearance in the video giving a tip of the hat to a ghost on his canvas in the beginning as well. (Added bonus of Glen’s musician kids being his backing band.)
This is one of Westerberg’s best new songs, and harkens back to some of the great work he did on The Replacements Don’t Tell a Soul album. A catchy song musically (I especially love the call back to Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman” in the beginning), but it is the lyrics that make this song a classic. Westerberg - the guy who wrote some of the greatest songs ever about the pains of growing up - now writes a classic about the pains of growing old. The “ghost on the canvas” seems to be as much Paul as it is Glen. Two people with the soul of an artist. And, truth be told, in 2012 if Paul was to have done this song himself with this musical production, the poor S.O.B. would have had to hear people comparing it to the Goo Goo Dolls. Like the man says, “People don’t know when they are looking at soul.”
Glen really lays it out best on the opening song “A Better Place.” An eloquent song to the Lord and to us at the same time. It is Campbell’s “My Way.” A song that looks back and forward at the same time with honesty, gratitude and hope.
Glen Campbell: he was a member of the “Wrecking Crew;” he was a Beach Boy; he hosted his own prime time network show back when it really meant something; he starred alongside “The Duke” in True Grit; and he was The Rhinestone Cowboy.
His music will live on forever. Thank you, Mr. Campbell. Well played.
* * *
- last time - Kelly Hogan
- last month - Bob Mould
- last season - Elvis
- full archive of Music Monday with PLC - HERE
Thanks also for hipping me to this album goes out to a high ranking member in the Music Monday with PLC cabinet, Mr. Center Square himself, Dave Hill. And check out his great book Tasteful Nudes available wherever fine books are sold.