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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Delight, Arkansas' native son

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

(Photo)
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, my dad worked second and sometimes third shift.

This meant that most nights throughout the work week, my mom and me had the television set to ourselves.

We both had our favorite "can't miss" shows.

Hers included Hollywood Squares, The Big Valley and The Phyllis Diller Show.

A few of mine were Green Acres, Gunsmoke and of course, Star Trek.

She would politely sit through my programs, while if I didn't want to be exiled to the kitchen to do homework, I tried to be patient and sit politely through her weekly viewing fare.

But there was one show where we met in the middle, a show that we both enjoyed -- The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.

Delight, Arkansas' very own Glen Campbell, that is.

Though he hasn't called the Natural State home for many, many decades, and although I've probably not given the man much thought in several years, I was still saddened to hear a couple of weeks back that 76-year-old Glen Campbell has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Campbell worked his way from not very much into being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

Along the way he sold over 45 million records and placed 27 singles into the county music top 10 charts.

Some of his biggest chart-busters included "Wichita Lineman," "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Gentle on My Mind," and the massively-popular "Rhinestone Cowboy."

One of my personal all-time favorite Campbell cuts was his re-working of Alan Toussaint's "Southern Nights," a tune that crossed over into the pop charts in a big way in the mid-70s.

Heck, he evened played alongside one of my all-time favorite actors, John Wayne, in the original True Grit movie.

But Campbell's talents were not strictly limited to the country-music side of things.

His most recent studio album, 2008's Meet Glen Campbell, featured impressive re-workings of tunes by Tom Petty, Foo Fighters, U2 and Green Day.

And earlier in his 50-plus years in show-biz, Campbell was highly in demand as a session guitarist and played on a ton of rock and pop tunes in the 1960s.

He played bass in the Beach Boys for a spell and even played some guitar on the group's seminal Pet Sounds album.

The man battled some personal downs to go along with all the ups he's had through the years, but he's never put down his guitar for very long since his Uncle Boo taught him to strum it as a young lad in Pike County, Arkansas.

Campbell is tentatively scheduled to release his final studio album, titled Ghost on the Canvas, later this summer.

But still, when I think of Glen Campbell, my first thought always goes back to his primetime TV show on the CBS network.

And about how mom and me used to sit on the same couch and enjoy the same television program for at least one hour each week.

Oh sure, I'm almost positive mom rolled her eyes and plugged her ears when Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker -- better known as Cream in those days -- appeared on the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour and played "Sunshine of your Love." But still, I remember how proud she was that a young man from a remote part of Arkansas had managed to defeat all the challenges that surely laid in his path -- overcoming them all to be beamed into households all across the globe on a weekly basis.

But now Glen Campbell faces his biggest challenge to date.

The nasty and unforgiving disease known as Alzheimer's.

I wish the pride of Delight, Arkansas strength, support and positive thoughts, as he struggles to overcome the very same disease that took the life of my mom almost five years ago.