Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb Release In Session (Fantasy Records)

Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb In Session

Pop music’s history is rich with famous pairings, collaborations that show off a brilliance beyond what each artist accomplishes on their own. Bacharach and David. Lennon and McCartney. Gamble and Huff. These are but a few. Then there is Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb, whose classic works together - along with newly minted gems - will soon be seen and heard in a DVD/CD package, In Session (Fantasy Records).

While In Session finds the team in a television studio in 1988 (Hamilton, Ontario’s CHCH-TV, the outlet that also taped duets with Dr. John and Johnny Winter, and blues greats Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughan), the relationship between the Arkansas-born Campbell and the Oklahoma-raised Webb goes back to the mid-60s. Campbell, a studio guitarist who played on recordings with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, and subbed for the then-ailing Brian Wilson on the Beach Boys tour in 1965, was gaining traction on a solo career when he met Webb early in 1967. Webb, in the meanwhile, was quickly becoming famous for zippy pop melodies and orchestrated epics for The Fifth Dimension (“Up, Up, and Away”) and Richard Harris (“Macarthur Park”) amongst others. The partnership began when Webb, who had a minor hit with the slow, country-fied “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, offered the song to Campbell.

Last year I met with Campbell to interview him for a Blurt magazine feature  prior to a Philadelphia date on his Goodbye Tour. The singer, in the initial stages of Alzheimer’s disease, wanted to tour with his children and bid farewell to his fans while he was still on top. During that chat Campbell complimented Webb’s longing, literate lyrics and winnowing melodies. “My wife will tell you. I pray to the Lord and thank Him for letting me do those songs." Campbell’s wife Kim reminded me how, famously, that Webb used to pray that Campbell would sing his songs. These guys belonged together and throughout 1968 and 1969 released classics such as "Wichita Lineman”, “Galveston”, and “Where’s the Playground Susie.”

Since that time, Campbell and Webb have made appearances together, rare and cherished ones, whose bootleg recordings have become holy grails to music collectors. That’s why the legitimate release of In Session is both poignant and crucial. With Webb at the piano and Campbell on guitar, the television program featured the pair gently approaching their legendary classics along with Webb’s “Sunshower” (initially written for R&B singer Thelma Houston), and a spare and gorgeous version of “Macarthur Park.”

In Session (Fantasy Records) is scheduled for release on September 25, 2012.

For more Glamorosi posts about Glen Campbell click here.

Posted on August 21, 2012 11:33 AM