Glen Campbell Forums recently posted about two early studio albums recently released on CD. Glen's first studio album, "Big Bluegrass Special", for Capitol Records, originally released on vinyl and later on CD, is an interesting one to review, too:
We will also compare the original album on vinyl with its unique CD reissue as well as other reissues.
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Vinyl Album / Capitol ("Stereo" ST 1830) ("High Fidelity" T1810) - Original Release in November 1962
"Truck Driving Man" (Terry Fell) – 2:00
"There's More Pretty Girls Than One" (Alton Delmore, Arthur Smith) – 2:55
"Weary Lonesome Blues" (Alton Delmore) – 2:15
"No Vacancy" (Merle Travis, Cliffie Stone) – 2:20
"Rainin' on the Mountain" (Alton Delmore) – 2:22
"Kentucky Means Paradise" (Merle Travis) – 2:35
"Brown's Ferry Blues" (Alton Delmore) – 2:33
"Lonesome Jailhouse Blues" (Alton Delmore, Rabon Delmore) – 1:32
"One Hundred Miles Away from Home" (Jerry Capehart, Glen Campbell, Nick Venet) – 3:10
"This Old White Mule of Mine" (Bob Nolan) – 2:00
"Poor Boy Lookin' for A Home" (Melvin Schmidt) – 2:10
"Long Black Limousine" (Vern Stovall, Bobby George) – 3:00
Glen Campbell – vocals, acoustic guitar
The Green River Boys
Carl Tanberg – bass
Dale Fitzsimmons – banjo
James Burton – acoustic guitar
David Frost – drums
Nick Venet – producer
Karen Cronin - art direction, design
Jerry White – cover photography
(album info credit: Wikipedia)
WHAT WAS GLEN CAMPBELL?
*This record was Glen Campbell's first studio album for Capitol Records.
*Capitol was challenged with categorizing their newly-signed artist, Glen Campbell. Was he Bluegrass? Country? Country & Western? Pop? Could he carry an album as a solo artist? What was "Glen Campbell"?
*Capitol determined to pitch Glen's first album as "bluegrass".
*Despite the pitch, the album is "country" or "country and western", even featuring Merle Travis's hit country song, "Kentucky Means Paradise" (written by Merle Travis).
*The photos on the back of the album's jacket appear to market "Glen Campbell, Studio Musician" or "Solo Artist".
THE GREEN RIVER BOYS GOT TOP BILLING
*Instead of marketing Glen as a solo artist, Capitol teamed Glen with "The Green River Boys": Carl Tanberg (bass) and Dale Fitzsimmons (banjo), two studio musicians. Two other studio musicians are on the album, James Burton (acoustic guitar) and David Frost (drums).
*The Green River Boys received top billing on the album: "The Green River Boys & ...."
*Although Glen Campbell received second billing, he is pictured in the foreground of the album's cover photo along with, presumably, Fitzsimmons and Tanberg in the background of the photo. The photo appears to have been taken somewhere in the woodlands of the Ozarks (but more likely Hollywood Hills).
*Glen recorded the twelve album tracks in Capitol Records' studio(s) on June 6th & June 15th, 1962.
*Capitol released "Big Bluegrass Special" on November 12, 1962 ("Stereo" ST 1830) ("High Fidelity" T1810).
*This first studio album did not chart.
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LINER NOTES WITH PHOTOS ON BACK OF ALBUM'S JACKET:
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VINYL RECORD SLEEVE ("High Fidelity" T1810):
*The record's original sleeve featured other Capitol Records' albums, most notably albums by The Kingston Trio. Glen Campbell later appeared on at least two Kingston Trio albums (as well as albums by Frank Sinatra and other artists pictured on this paper sleeve). Nice coincidence now.
ADDITIONAL RECORDED TRACKS - LOST & FOUND?
*Glen Campbell also recorded additional tracks during and after the "Big Bluegrass Special" sessions in June '62, that did not make it to the album. Most of these tracks were never released.
*One of these tracks was "Beautiful Brown Eyes" (written by Arthur Smith, Lionel Delmore, & Jerry Capehart). This song later debuted on "The Essential Glen Campbell Volume Three", a compilation album released by Capitol Records in 1995:
*After Glen's popularity soared in the late sixties, a budget label, Pickwick, released a compilation album, "A Satisfied Mind", in 1971, with 9 of the 12 songs from "Big Bluegrass Special" and the track, "A Satisfied Mind" (Jack Rhodes & Red Hayes).
*The single, "A Satisfied Mind", had been previously released on the b-side of Glen Campbell's 1966 Capitol single (CAP 5638) with "Can’t You See I’m Trying" (Glen Campbell & Jerry Fuller) on the a-side.
*The "Satisfied Mind" album was then, of course, pitched solely as a "Glen Campbell album", vamped up with a new cover photo of a hip, groovin' Glen Campbell with teen appeal, thus re-positioning the LP as "pop".
*"A Satisfied Mind", the album, has a (reversed?) re-purposed photo of Glen sitting on or leaning over a carousel horse on a Merry-Go-Round, the picture likely shot during the making of the music video for "Wichita Lineman" (you can watch this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIYvHdEwEOw).
*The Merry-Go-Round still stands!
This former amusement park ride, built in 1926, is situated in Griffith Park in Los Angeles according to Yelp. To view photos of it, visit: https://www.yelp.com/biz/griffith-park- ... os-angeles.
REISSUES ON CD:
*In 1996, Capitol Nashville reissued "Big Bluegrass Special" on CD, with 14 total tracks instead of the original 12. Re-mastered by Glenn Meadows, the CD was the album's first reissue (it did not make it to 8-track or cassette as far as I know). The CD included two bonus tracks previously unreleased on an album: "Divorce Me C.O.D." and "Dark As A Dungeon", both tracks recorded on February 5, 1963.
*NOTE: In 1963, Capitol Records released a single with the tracks "Divorce Me C.O.D." (A-side) and "Dark As A Dungeon" (B-side), (Cap 4990), with the artists listed on each label as follows:
Featuring GLEN CAMPBELL
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*In 2001, the Cornerstone Series reissued the CD, also with the same 14 tracks and "remastered".
*Tracks from "Big Bluegrass Special" continue to pop up on compilation albums such as:
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c. 2018 D. Zink All Rights Reserved
BONUS FEATURE FROM ARLW ONLY ON GLEN CAMPBELL FORUMS!
Japan reissued "Big Bluegrass Special" and arlw provides the following description and photos for the reissue's promo:
Glen Campbell and The Green River Boys “BIG BLUEGRASS SPECIAL”- ULTRA – RARE 1970 ORIGINAL JAPANESE FIRST PRESSING ON RED WAX WHITE LABEL PROMO COPY WITH OBI. CP-80013
When this album came out in the US, the front cover is totally different than this one from Japan! Capitol-Toshiba. This record was originally released in the US in 1962 with a totally different cover. This was later released in Japan for the first time with Glen Campbell on the cover with his name misspelled. The cover and OBI are in a nice VG+ condition (The Hojyuhyo tag is intact but has a few creases in the back of the OBI).
The record which is a PROMO/RED VINYL is near mint condition. The pictures are shown below. The label on the album is white. This is the first time I have ever come across an album like this in over 40 years. Made, printed and manufactured in Japan! -arlw
Thank you, Ar! Although the first studio album of Glen's cannot be categorized by fans and music listeners as "bluegrass", your promo from Japan is BIG and SPECIAL! This ruby gem and its jacket best represent Glen Campbell's "Big Bluegrass Special" and how it could have been first released as a "Glen Campbell album" in 1962.