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Special Review: Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb Conjure Old Ghosts On Two New Releases

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Glen Campbell - See You ThereSince 1967, it’s been difficult to think of Glen Campbell without thinking of Jimmy Webb – and vice versa. When the ace session guitarist interpreted the young songwriter’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” on the album of the same name, the result wasn’t just a Grammy-winning hit single, but the beginning of a partnership that’s survived through six decades. Campbell scored successes with a string of Webb’s songs in the late 1960s (“Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “Where’s the Playground, Susie”), celebrated his friend’s ouevre with the 1974 LP Reunion, and tapped Webb for the title song of 1979’s Highwayman, later recorded by Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson. When Campbell departed Capitol for Atlantic Records in the early eighties, Webb was there with “I Was Too Busy Loving You” (Old Home Town), “Cowboy Hall of Fame” and “Shattered” (It’s Just a Matter of Time). The 1987 MCA album Still Within the Sound of My Voice notched Campbell a Top 5 Country hit with its title song, penned by Webb, and the following year’s Light Years was almost a proper sequel to Reunion, with eight of ten tracks from Jimmy. And when the singer took an even greater leap to the realm of contemporary Christian music, the Oklahoma-born minister’s son joined him with compositions like “Where Am I Going,” “The Four Horsemen” and “Only One Life.”

Flash-forward to the present day. Campbell, in a valiant fight with Alzheimer’s, recorded a “farewell”-style album, 2011’s Ghost on the Canvas (a stark collection of original compositions and songs new to Campbell, all helmed by producer Julian Raymond) and completed his victorious “Goodbye Tour.” But Surfdog Records revealed earlier this year that, during sessions for Ghost, Campbell found time to re-record a number of classics from his back catalogue. These vocal tracks, augmented with spare new instrumentation by producers Dave Darling and Dave Kaplan, form the basis of Campbell’s latest (final?) studio album, See You There. In what can only be described as a coincidence, Jimmy Webb released his most recent studio album less than a month following Campbell’s. His Still Within the Sound of My Voice – titled after his finest interpreter’s 1987 hit – also revisits his own past triumphs in stripped-down fashion. Both albums are nostalgic but fresh reinterpretations by two venerable musicians who have created a songbook for the ages.

On See You There (Surfdog 1-18012), Campbell’s voice is placed out front. It’s still robust when called for, but most often burnished and wizened. The arrangements are spare, especially when compared to the grand orchestral productions of the 1960s, but envelop Campbell in an earthy, dark-hued blend of acoustic guitars, dirty electric ones, thick bass, slide, pedal steel, banjo, dobro and occasionally retro percussion. The result emphasizes the intimacy and directness in Campbell’s weathered voice, and is frequently heartbreaking. It also spiritually recalls Johnny Cash’s late-career American Recordings made under the aegis of Rick Rubin. “The road of life is a long, long road, when you walk alone,” he intones on “Hey Little One,” a rootsy take on the 1968 Top 20 Country/AC hit. He’s piercing as he confesses, “Then I found you, and I found a love/A love I’ve never known,” his age adding a completely new, sadder dimension to the familiar Dorsey Burnette/Barry DeVorzon song.

Three recent songs co-written by Julian Raymond and Campbell are reworked to equally strong effect including the touching “There’s No Me…Without You,” which sounds as timeless as any of the staples that have preceded it, and the powerful “What I Wouldn’t Give.” Their third collaboration, “Waiting on the Comin’ of My Lord,” is heard in both its original outtake version from Ghost on the Canvas and the stripped-down version. As Campbell confidently asks Jesus to “take my hand and guide me to the Promised Land,” assuring us that “this is just a temporary stop for me, ‘cause I’m on that train to Jordan town….,” he’s facing his mortality with a brave and reassuring face.

Four Webb songs are tackled (“Wichita Lineman,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Galveston” and the lesser-known “Postcard from Paris,” originally a bonus track on Ghost on the Canvas under the alternate title of “Wish You Were Here”. Campbell is particularly affecting on a mournful reading of “Phoenix,” and he likewise mines the deep well of emotion on “Wichita Lineman” even when flubbing the lyrics’ “main road/overload” rhyme as “main roads/overload.” Viola and gentle background vocals enhance the “Wish you were here” refrain of the wistful “Postcard from Paris.” A thumping, muffled drum adds to the raw and yearning “Galveston,” as powerful an anti-war statement as any, and one with particular resonance today.

After the jump: more on Glen Campbell, plus Jimmy Webb’s new Still Within the Sound of My Voice!

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Written by Joe Marchese

September 11, 2013 at 10:25

Posted in Glen Campbell, Jimmy Webb, News, Reviews

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Starbucks Serves “Self-Portraits” of Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman and Others

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Starbucks Self-PortraitsSome of the music featured on Starbucks Entertainment’s latest compilation album, Self-Portraits, is a bit atypical for a coffeehouse setting: Warren Zevon, Judee Sill, Randy Newman, John Prine, Loudon Wainwright III.  The songs on Self-Portraits, by and large, demand attention, as all are drawn from the realm of the singer-songwriter with an emphasis on confessional or first-person songs.  The 16-track CD focuses on the 1970s (with just one track from 1969), and although there are a few unquestionably familiar, oft-anthologized songs, there are also a few that might make this disc worth perusing.

The hit singles come first on Self-Portraits.  Carole King’s “I Feel the Earth Move” kicks off the disc, as it did King’s 1971 sophomore solo album Tapestry.  That was, of course, the album that ignited King’s career as a solo artist, and the same could be said for James Taylor’s second long-player.  “I Feel the Earth Move” is followed by “Fire and Rain,” from the troubadour’s 1970 Sweet Baby James, which featured (you guessed it) Carole King on piano.  Though Judy Collins had the hit single of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” Self-Portraits includes Mitchell’s version from her 1969 album Clouds, and then segues to British piano man Elton John for a track off his second album: the ubiquitous “Your Song.”

Following “Your Song,” the disc – as curated by Starbucks’ Steven Stolder – veers off in interesting directions.  Leon Russell, whose style was an influence on budding artist John’s, is represented with his piano-pounding “Tight Rope.”  Like Leon Russell (a key player in the Los Angeles “Wrecking Crew” of session musicians), Jimmy Webb spent his formative years behind-the-scenes.  In Webb’s  case, he was a songwriting prodigy with hits like “Up, Up and Away,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Wichita Lineman” under his belt by the time he began his proper solo career with 1970’s “Words and Music.”  From that album, Self-Portraits draws “P.F. Sloan,” Webb’s remarkable, multi-layered ode to a songwriting colleague.  Any discussion of popular songwriters would be incomplete without a mention of Bob Dylan, and his “If You See Her, Say Hello” from his singer-songwriter masterwork Blood on the Tracks is the choice here.  Perhaps the least-known songwriter here is Judee Sill, the troubled Lady of the Canyon whose small discography yielded touching and unusual gems like “The Kiss.”

Self-Portraits also includes tracks from artists with more explicitly folk leanings than, say, King, Webb and Taylor.   Both Loudon Wainwright III (whose only hit single remains “Dead Skunk,” alas) and his wife Kate McGarrigle are heard here; Kate is joined by her sister Anna for “Talk to Me of Mendocino” from their eponymous album.  Another folk hero, John Prine, gets a spot with “Sabu Visits the Twin Cities Alone,” with which Prine draws comparisons between the Indian actor’s life and his own.  From the Brit-folk scene, Richard and Linda Thompson (“Dimming of the Day”) and Nick Drake (“Northern Sky”) appear.

After the jump: we have much more on the new comp, including the full track listing and an order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb, “In Session”

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What drew together the son of a sharecropper from Delight, Arkansas and the minister’s boy from Eld City, Oklahoma?  They were separated by a decade; one conservative, one liberal; one singer, one songwriter; one an establishment country star, the other a long-haired pop wunderkind – the paths of Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb first crossed when Campbell chose to record Webb’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” in 1967.  The Oklahoma kid had written the song as a young staff songwriter at Motown’s Jobete arm, where it was recorded by a most atypical Motor City artist (Paul Petersen, of The Donna Reed Show) and promptly shelved.  Johnny Rivers, an early champion of Webb’s, recorded the song, and it came to Campbell’s attention.  The rising country star had recently scored with John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind” after a prosperous career as a session musician and briefly, as a Beach Boy.  “Phoenix” bested “Gentle” on the Hot 100 and Easy Listening charts, netting Campbell two Grammy Awards for his vocals; the album of the same name became the first-ever country album to win Album of the Year at the Grammys.  The Webb/Campbell team was off and running, kicking off a string of hit songs including “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “Where’s the Playground Susie,” “Honey, Come Back” and more.  Fantasy Records’ new CD/DVD set Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb – In Session (Fantasy FAN-34070-00, 2012) offers rich insight into the relationship between these two talented gentlemen, both behind the scenes and in front of the microphone.

The singer and the songwriter met on December 9, 1988 at the studios of Canada’s CHCH-TV for two segments of the interview-and-song program In Session, from which this new release is derived.  The joint appearance occurred just months after the release of Light Years, Campbell’s 44th album, which contained eight Webb compositions out of ten songs.  The DVD preserves the entirety of both segments, while the CD offers all of the musical performances, save a couple of brief fragments.  The format of In Session is a simple one, with both artists offering commentary and then illustrating with a performance.  Webb often speaks directly to the camera, and then he and Campbell will banter and offer tidbits about a particular song’s origin before performing it.  For the musical portions, Webb takes the piano and leads a small band, while Campbell holds the stage on guitar and vocals.  The easy rapport of the two men is very much in evidence as they run through their greatest hits as well as some less expected choices.  Naturally, the entire set takes on added poignancy with the knowledge that Campbell is currently fighting Alzheimer’s disease, even as he continues to perform his pop and country hits to adoring audiences on his current Goodbye Tour.

Perhaps ironically, that initial collaboration “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” is absent, save for a brief snatch as Webb discusses it on the DVD.  Its follow-up, “Wichita Lineman,” is heard in a lovely, spare rendition, a reminder of just how serendipitous a commercial assignment can be: Campbell sought out Webb to craft a follow-up to “Phoenix” with a similar geographical bent. “Wichita Lineman” was inspiration borne from necessity, and overshadowed its predecessor; the album built around the song went to No. 1 on both the country and pop charts, while the single went all the way to No. 1 Country and AC, and No. 3 Pop.  (Not wanting to end a good thing, Webb soon provided Campbell with “Galveston.”  It, too, went to No. 1 Country and AC, No. 3 Pop!)

In the program, Webb recalls him and Campbell first meeting on the set of a Chevrolet commercial, existing “on the opposite end of the political spectrum,” but “as time went on, [they] became very, very close.”  Webb tapped into something in Campbell’s persona that allowed him to write such deeply personal songs, so frequently infused with strains of melancholy, yearning and reflection.  Even the songs not written for Campbell, like “Phoenix,” found a successful interpreter in him.  Webb and Campbell preface a performance of Light Years’ “If These Walls Could Speak” with the revelation that the song was written for Waylon Jennings.  When Jennings declined to record it, Campbell stepped in, cottoning to it from the demo recording.  He shares the experience with the television audience of translating Webb’s tricky chord progressions from piano to guitar.  Campbell’s playful side is also on display as he pokes fun at Waylon and Don Ho with spot-on impressions.

As illuminating as the spoken contributions from both men are, the songs naturally speak volumes themselves.  Just hit the jump for more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 10, 2012 at 15:17

Posted in Glen Campbell, Jimmy Webb, Reviews

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Release Round-Up: Week of October 9

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The Beach Boys, 2012 Remasters / Greatest Hits Greatest Hits: Fifty Big Ones (Capitol/EMI)

The summer gets a little more endless with a new compilation (in two formats) and remasters of nearly all of the band’s ’60s albums. (A full breakdown of those albums is here, and a full review is coming up from Joe today!)

The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour (Apple/EMI)

The Fab Four’s kooky film is making its Blu-Ray debut in standard and deluxe box formats.

Deep Purple, Machine Head: 40th Anniversary Edition (EMI)

A five-disc box set devoted to this classic rock LP, featuring various different mixes of the album (including quad and 5.1 mixes) and other goodies.

Barbra Streisand, Release Me (Columbia)

The incomparable Barbra’s newest album is actually an offering of entirely unreleased performances from the vaults. Lots of great discoveries herein!

B.B. King, Ladies and Gentlemen…Mr B.B. King (Hip-O/UMe)

Available in four-disc and Amazon-exclusive 10-disc formats, these box sets are the latest way to honor one of the greatest living blues legends.

The Supremes, I Hear a Symphony: Expanded Edition (Hip-O Select/Motown)

Another Supremes classic expanded to two discs, featuring the original album in mono and stereo and a host of live and studio treasures from the vault.

David Ruffin, David: The Unreleased LP and More (Hip-O Select/Motown)

Out of print for years, Hip-O Select reissues this compilation of the Temptation’s unissued 1971 album and a host of outtakes from the album sessions.

Various Artists, The Best of Bond…James Bond: 50 Years, 50 Tracks (Capitol/EMI)

It’s been 50 years since Dr. No hit theaters and it’s only a few weeks until Skyfall is released, so it’s time for a new 007 compilation that features all the classic title themes on one disc and a sampling of other tracks from the Bond films on the other.

Level 42, Running in the Family: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Polydor/UMC)

This ’80s hit is available from the U.K. as a double-disc expansion or four-disc, extras-packed box set.

The Who, Live in Texas 1975 (Eagle Rock)

Their latest at the time was The Who by Numbers, but this newly-restored show, on DVD in its first official release, is anything but.

Old 97’s, Too Far to Care: Deluxe Edition (Omnivore)

A demo-packed reissue of the 1997 country-rocker.

Various Artists, Athens, GA – Inside Out (Omnivore)

A nice deluxe set featuring both the classic documentary on the colorful Athens, GA music scene in the 1980s on DVD (with new special features) and the expanded soundtrack on CD.

Vince Guaraldi Trio, A Charlie Brown Christmas: Original Sound Track from the CBS Television Special (Fantasy)

The classic holiday album gets a brand new remaster with three bonus tracks. Full review coming later today!

Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb, In Session (Fantasy)

Two legends collaborate on this live performance from 1983, newly released as a CD/DVD set.

Adam AntDestiny’s Child, Shawn ColvinAlan Jackson, Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson, George Jones & Tammy Wynette, Carole KingTaj MahalRicky Martin, Johnny Mathis, Meat Loaf, Laura Nyro, Collin Raye, Starship, Porter Wagoner & Dolly PartonPlaylist (Legacy)

A surprisingly strong batch of Playlist titles includes a few neat surprises, too, from brand-new compilations for Destiny’s Child and Ricky Martin to rare and unreleased tracks on the Meat Loaf, Starship and Laura Nyro sets.

The Chipmunks, Christmas Collection (Capitol)

Because it wouldn’t be the holidays without some squeaky-voiced renditions of holiday classics, plus the immortal “Christmas Don’t Be Late.”

Edie Adams, The Edie Adams Christmas Album (Omnivore)

Another Christmas treat, sourced from rare kinescopes of Adams on television in the ’50s.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: Anniversary Collector’s Edition (Universal Studios Home Video)

A timeless favorite at Second Disc HQ (in particular, Mike’s favorite movie!) comes home on Blu-Ray for the first time, featuring the restored original 1982 version of the film and a new retrospective consisting entirely of on-set footage shot by John Toll. Retail exclusives abound: Target’s offering a deluxe steelbook package (available internationally as a basic deluxe edition), Best Buy has a special book package with pages of full-color notes and artwork, Walmart throws in a free E.T. doll for the kids, and Amazon carried a limited deluxe package (now sold out) housed in a replica of E.T.’s spaceship.

Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut (Warner Home Video)

One of the most purely fun musicals of the past few decades, this loving musical adaptation of the Roger Corman cult classic features a killer, ’60s-flavored pop score from future Disney legends Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. For this special Blu-Ray release, the hilarious, 20-minute alternate ending (seen only on a quickly-recalled, highly-collectible DVD) has been fully restored and added to the end of the picture, and other great special features abound, too!

Release Round-Up: Week of September 25

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Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb, In Session (Concord)

The legendary songwriter and equally legendary country superstar join forces for two 1988 television broadcasts, joined together on one DVD and accompanied by a CD of the programs’ musical selections!  Campbell’s only recording of Webb’s “Sunshower” can be found here, among other gems.  For those of you anticipating the arrival of In Session today, it appears that this title has been delayed until October 9!  You can read more about it here.  Now, onto some titles actually arriving in stores today…

Aretha Franklin, Love All the Hurt Away / MFSB, Love is the Message / Platypus, Platypus / Lipps, Inc., Mouth to Mouth / Dionne Warwick, Heartbreaker (Big Break Records)

It’s another soul banquet from the good people at Big Break Records with expanded and remastered titles from the catalogues of Casablanca, Arista and Philadelphia International!  Watch for features and reviews on all of the above, coming soon!  These are out in the U.K. today, while a U.S. berth follows next week.

Dickie Goodman, Long Live the King/Moving Sidewalks, The Complete Collection (RockBeat)

RockBeat Records returns with two new releases: a single-disc compilation spanning the career of the “break-in record” king, Dickie Goodman, and a two-CD anthology of music from Billy Gibbons’ pre-ZZ Top band, The Moving Sidewalks!  Here’s the scoop on these titles and more from RockBeat.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The 50th Anniversary Collection (Columbia/Legacy)

The New Orleans institution turns 50, and celebrates the occasion with this deluxe box set of performances recorded between 1962 and 2010, including five previously unreleased tracks!  Read more here!

R.E.M., Document: 25th Anniversary Edition (EMI)

R.E.M.’s fifth studio album has turned 25!  Document was recorded by vocalist Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry, and was the band’s first album to achieve platinum sales.  The remastered album is joined by a previously unreleased 1987 concert, and it’s all packaged in a sturdy lift-top box with four postcards.  Read all about it here.

Merl Saunders and Jerry Garcia, Keystone Companions: The Complete 1973 Fantasy Recordings (Fantasy/Concord)

Fantasy Records issues four CDs of prime live Garcia, in which the Grateful Dead leader is joined by Merl Saunders.  These remarkable Bay Area performances are packaged in a handsome box with copious notes and a bit of swag, too.  Watch for our review as part of our Holiday Gift Guide, coming soon!

Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr., Christmas with the Rat Pack (Capitol)

2012 is bringing another new version of Capitol’s Rat Pack holiday compilation, and it appears to have lost a few tracks since its original 2002 release (and subsequent 2006 reissue).  Still, this music simply can’t be beat, pallies.

Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols: Super Deluxe Edition (Universal U.K.)

Never mind the rest, the Sex Pistols have gone super-deluxe!  That means you’ll get a remastered version of the original album, a CD of outtakes and rarities (including previously unreleased tracks), a live CD, and a DVD, too, plus the requisite swag including a replica of the original A&M pressing of “God Save the Queen.”  This is available in the U.K. now, and in the U.S. next week!  If you don’t think this set is a load of bollocks, you’ll want to read more about it here!

Barbra Streisand, Release Me (Columbia)

La Streisand unlocks the vault doors for this first collection of previously-unreleased material recorded between 1967 and 2011, with songs by world-class composers like Jimmy Webb, Randy Newman, Paul Williams and Michel Legrand.  Word has it that future volumes might follow as Streisand kicks off her 50th year of recording for Columbia Records.  Release Me is out today on vinyl, while the CD release follows on October 9.

The John Wilson Orchestra, That’s Entertainment: A Celebration of the MGM Film Musical (EMI)

The John Wilson Orchestra’s 2009 BBC Prom concert, with guest stars Seth MacFarlane, Kim Criswell and Curtis Stigers singing reconstructed tunes from classic MGM musicals, receives an American release.  It’s available as a standard edition and a deluxe one, with the latter containing liner notes and session photos in a casebound, hardcover book plus a DVD containing a featurette and music videos.  A stand-alone DVD of the concert is also available.

Frank Zappa, 12 catalogue reissues (UMe/Zappa Records)

Twelve more Zappa classics arrive on CD, many in freshly-remastered editions. Full details and pre-order links for every title can be found in yesterday’s full rundown, or just click on the li’l fella, above, to order and jump headfirst into FZ Territory!

Warren Zevon, Mr. Bad Example/Mutineer (Friday Music)

The late Warren Zevon’s witty, mordant and moving oeuvre is celebrated on this two-fer from Friday Music, bringing together his 1991 and 1995 studio albums.

Original Soundtrack, Dirty Dancing: The Anniversary Edition (RCA/Legacy)

Will you have the time of your life with this deluxe version of the smash soundtrack album to the 1987 film?  Only the original 12 songs are present, but they’re joined in a commemorative package by six suitable-for-framing art cards and a bumper sticker.

And I Want You For All Time: Glen Campbell, Jimmy Webb Reunite For Vintage “Session”

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What makes for the perfect marriage of songwriter and singer?  The magic is nearly indefinable when composer and lyricist meet a voice to serve as a muse; when two or three people, each with an inimitable gift, find themselves on a perfect, sympathetic and transcendent wavelength to bring each other’s music to life.  There have been many such marriages across all genes of music: Dionne Warwick with Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Frank Sinatra with Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen; Petula Clark with Tony Hatch; Meat Loaf with Jim Steinman.  Yet surely one of the most special is that of Glen Campbell with Jimmy Webb.  That enduring relationship is the subject of Fantasy Records’ upcoming CD/DVD set, In Session, due in stores on September 25.

Since Glen Campbell first recorded “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” in 1967, he became intimately acquainted with the words and music of Jimmy L. Webb.  Formerly a staff songwriter for Motown’s Jobete Music arm, Webb had placed songs with big names (The Supremes) and lesser-known talents (Danny Day, The Contessas) when he attracted the ear of Soul City’s Johnny Rivers.  The “Poor Side of Town” and “Memphis, Tennessee” man was the first to release a version of “Phoenix,” on his 1967 album Changes.  Within a year, he was enlisting Webb to write and produce an entire album for The 5th Dimension (with whom he had provided the multiple Grammy-winning hit “Up, Up and Away”) and was recording almost an entire all-Webb album himself.

Glen Campbell’s recording of “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” scored the singer a No. 1 Country LP, with its title song hitting No. 2 Country, No. 12 AC and No. 26 Pop.  Before long, Campbell sought out Webb to craft a follow-up with a similar geographical bent.  “Wichita Lineman” was inspiration borne from necessity.  Even though Frank Sinatra famously called “Phoenix” “the greatest torch song ever written,” “Wichita Lineman” might be even better, a song of striking maturity for such a young songwriter.  Campbell’s reading perfectly captured its evocative mood, and the album of the same name hit No. 1 on both the country and pop charts.  “Wichita” the single went all the way to No. 1 Country and AC, and No. 3 Pop.  Glen Campbell was officially on his way, and Jimmy Webb was the hottest young songwriter on the planet.

Over the years, Campbell has recorded roughly forty of Webb’s songs, from the chart-topping “Galveston” (which repeated the placement of “Wichita” on all three singles charts!) to the recent ‘Wish You Were Here,” from Campbell’s last (final?) album Ghost on the Canvas.  Webb has been there every step of the way with his musical soul brother, even contributing songs during Campbell’s contemporary Christian period.

Hit the jump for all the details on In Session! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 15, 2012 at 13:51

Gentle On His Mind: Two Early Glen Campbell Classics Reissued By BGO

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It’s knowing that your door is always open and your path is free to walk/That makes me tend to leave my sleepin’ bag rolled up and stashed behind your couch…

For nearly fifty years, many of us have opened our doors to Glen Campbell on record and on television.  So it came as a shock that, just two months before the release of what’s being billed as his final studio recording, Campbell announced that he has been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.  The beloved singer and guitar legend still intends to embark on a farewell tour, and his wife Kim, speaking to People, assured fans that “Glen is still an awesome guitar player and singer.  But if he flubs a lyric or gets confused onstage, I wouldn’t want people to think ‘What’s the matter with him?  Is he drunk?”  For the new album, Ghost on the Canvas, Campbell will be joined by a number of musicians whom he has influenced, including Paul Westerberg, Jakob Dylan, Billy Corgan, Robert Pollard and Rick Nielsen.  But before that valedictory LP is released, the U.K.’s BGO label is affording fans the opportunity to revisit two Campbell classics on one CD.  1967’s Gentle on My Mind and By the Time I Get to Phoenix were the artist’s 6th and 7th studio albums for Capitol Records, and both were built around the titled hit singles.  Both were country chart-toppers and the former peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 while the latter reached No. 15.  The two-on-one CD is due in stores on July 4.

Gentle on My Mind was produced by Al De Lory, with De Lory arranging and conducting alongside none other than Leon Russell.  Many familiar titles can be heard on the LP alongside John Hartford’s title song, which became one of Campbell’s signature songs.  Donovan’s “Catch the Wind,” Jimmie Rodgers’ “It’s Over,” Petula Clark’s “You’re My World,” Harry Nilsson’s “Without Her” and Roy Orbison’s “Cryin’” all were recipients of the Campbell treatment.  The band was, naturally, an accomplished one.  Two players came from the famed Los Angeles “Wrecking Crew,” of which Campbell was a member, playing for everyone from Frank Sinatra to The Beach Boys (and Campbell, of course, was even a one-time touring Beach Boy himself).  Joe Osborn handled bass and Leon Russell played piano as “Russell Bridges.”  Campbell, on acoustic guitar, was joined by another legend of the instrument, James Burton, on both acoustic and electric, while Doug Dillard played banjo.  Future Domino (of Derek and the Dominos) Jim Gordon played drums.  “Gentle on My Mind,” the song, won two Grammy Awards.  But just three months after Gentle’s release in August 1967, Capitol unveiled another Glen Campbell LP.

Hit the jump to read about the album that made Grammy Awards history, plus the complete track listing and discographical annotation! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 24, 2011 at 09:23

Release Round-Up: Week of April 26

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Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (Universal)

The 2-CD remastered/expanded 40th Anniversary Edition (previously a Best Buy exclusive) and super deluxe 4-CD/2-LP/1-DVD box set of the seminal album both arrive in stores today.  Read more here.  (2-CD – Amazon, Box Set – Amazon)

Bob Dylan, The Other Side of the Mirror: Live at the Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965 (Columbia/Legacy)

Murray Lerner’s film chronicling Dylan’s incendiary performances at Newport is released on Blu-Ray for the first time. (Amazon)

Ella Fitzgerald, Ella in Japan (Verve Select)

Hip-o and Verve resurrect two nights of previously unreleased concerts from January 1964 in Tokyo.  The Roy Eldridge Quartet supports the legendary jazz chanteuse.  Read more here.  (Amazon)

Florence + The Machine, Lungs: Deluxe Edition (Universal Republic)

An expanded edition of Florence + The Machine’s impressive 2009 debut Lungs arrives in America.  Read more here.   (Amazon)

Jefferson Airplane, The Worst of Jefferson Airplane (Vinyl) (Friday Music)

From “Somebody to Love” to “Volunteers,” this compilation offers the best of the San Francisco rock pioneers, remastered on 180-gram vinyl.  Read more here.  (Amazon)

Robert Johnson, The Centennial Collection (Legacy)

Robert Johnson would have turned 100 this year, and Legacy celebrates in style with this update of 1990’s The Complete Recordings.  42 tracks are included on two discs.  A deluxe box set is also available.  Read more here.  (Amazon)

Roy Orbison, The Monument Singles Collection (1960-1964) (Monument/Orbison Records/Legacy)

This 2-CD/1-DVD set compiles on CD every A- and B-side from Orbison’s career-making tenure at Monument Records in original mono mixes, plus rare concert footage from 1965 on DVD.  A booklet with detailed discographical information is included!  Read more here.  (Amazon)

The Rolling Stones, The Complete Singles: 1971-2006 (Hip-o/Universal)

Yup, this 45-CD set (!) brings together 173 tracks representing the Stones’ singles output beginning in 1971, and 80 tracks debut on CD.  A 32-page hardback book sweetens the deal.  Read more here.  (Amazon)

Studio Cast Recording, On Your Toes (Masterworks Broadway/Arkiv Music)

Jack Cassidy and Portia Nelson star in this 1953 studio cast recording of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s great score.  Tracks include “There’s a Small Hotel,” “Glad to Be Unhappy” and “Slaughter on 10th Avenue.”  Available in mono as a disc-on-demand or download.  Read more here.  (CD – Arkiv, Download – Amazon)

Jimmy Webb & The Webb Brothers, Cottonwood Farm (Proper US)

Webb’s 2009 collaboration with his sons and other family members receives a belated American debut on Proper.  (Amazon)