Glen Campbell & Hope Sandoval – The Long Walk Home

23rd March 2024 · 2020s, 2024, Country, Music

I’m not entirely sure what I think about these posthumous recordings, where a living artist duets with a dead one. Some work well; others defile the dead artist’s memory. I think this one settles the argument in their favour.

It’s a duet between the late Glen Campbell and the thankfully still living Hope Sandoval, one of my favourite singers, from the band Mazzy Star.

Her gossamer-light vocal blends seamlessly with Campbell’s to bring an extra air of melancholy to The Long Walk Home – a song he wrote in his later years about his battle with Alzheimer’s.

The lyric is so poignant: “I know I’ll never be the same again / I hope I’ll still remember you,” they sing in harmony. “Above it all I know our love will transcend / On my long walk home.”

I have to say I remember Campbell from my childhood mostly as a singer of string-drenched country ballads like Wichita Lineman, Galveston, Southern Nights, Gentle On My Mind, It’s Only Make Believe and By The Time I Get To Phoenix.

Campbell started out as a session guitarist in the ’50s as a session man, playing on hits by Bobby Darin and Rick Nelson before joining The Champs, famed for their twangy 1960 instrumental Tequila (which lives on as the Arsenal fans’ theme song for William Saliba).

In the ’60s he played on hits by Elvis Presley and Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra – that’s Glen’s guitar on Strangers In The Night (if you can hear it) – and The Monkees (I’m A Believer) and Merle Haggard (The Legend Of Bonnie And Clyde).

In the mid-’60s he toured with The Beach Boys but turned down a place in the band in a dispute over royalties and launched his successful solo career instead. He never looked back, conquering addictions to booze and drugs along the way.

He has duetted before – while still alive – working with Bobbie Gentry in the late ’60s, a collaboration that spawned two hits with covers of the Everly Brothers’ All I Have To Do Is Dream and Let It Be Me; a period where he also tried his hand at acting, appearing alongside John Wayne in True Grit.

I’m surprised to learn, via a statement by this song’s producer and co-writer Julian Raymond, that Campbell was a fan of Hope Sandoval’s music, making it all the more poignant that they’ve been united after his death.

“Glen and I listened to a couple of Mazzy Star songs while we were preparing to record the Meet Glen Campbell album (in 2008) and after listening to Mary Of Silence he said: ‘I can’t do better than that.’ He greatly admired Hope’s talent.”

Me too!