Glen Campbell & Jimmy Webb, In Session…

Peter Blackstock

By Peter Blackstock

on 09.25.12 in Reviews

In Session

Glen Campbell
Revisiting some of the highest points of their partnership

Though Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb each had huge successes outside each other’s company – Campbell’s biggest hits included Allen Toussaint’s “Southern Nights” and John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind,” while Webb songs became pop smashes in the hands of Donna Summer and the Fifth Dimension – their most lasting legacy remains the work they did together. In Session…, compiled from a TV appearance in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1988, finds the two revisiting some of the highest points of their partnership (“Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress”) while also taking turns down less-familiar avenues. “Light Years” and “If These Walls Could Speak” were high points of an album of Webb songs Campbell had released just prior to this taping; the latter song stands with their finest collaborations. Snippets of commentary from Webb help to explain how the songs came to be; especially enlightening is his observation that this strikingly deliberate rendition of “Galveston” has reverted back to the tempo in which it was written: “It’s almost as though songs know how fast they want to be sung,” he muses. And, yes, they tackle Webb’s epic “MacArthur Park,” with the songwriter confessing his “cake in the rain” motivation matter-of-factly: “I was not putting anybody on. It was a love song about somebody that I cared about very much, and about a relationship that was over.” Thankfully, his relationship with Campbell continued for many decades hence.