Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Morning Existential Country Music

Had your coffee yet?  Wrap your head around that one.  Dylan Jones referred to Jimmy Webb's "Witchita Lineman" as "the first exitential country song."  I don't know, maybe (philosophy = logic = math = me in tears), but the melody is definitely moving me this morning so that's where we're headed.

At some point I'm going to do a huge James Taylor post.  I LOVE him, a LOT.  Apple Corps. did plenty of dumb things but one of the smartest things they ever did was give Taylor his first recording contract.  Thank you, Paul McCartney.  This version was nominated for a  Grammy in 2009 for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance but lost out to John Mayer.

The following year (2010) Jimmy Webb released Just Across the River, an album of songs he'd written for other people (though he wisely skipped a disco rendition of "MacArthur Park").  Friends and colleagues who helped out included Glen Campbell, Linda Ronstadt, Willie Nelson and Billy Joel on piano on this gorgeous version.

The definitive version, of course, is Glen Campbell's.  Campbell recorded two other Webb songs, "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "Galveston," but this song is his most requested.  Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer's early in 2011 and he's planning a farewell tour before he retires.  He was recently on The Ellen Degeneres Show and performed this at her request.  His performance starts at about 1:44.

 Have a good Monday.


  1. I looove Witchita Lineman! I really enjoy all Glen Campbell's hits. I didn't know he had Alzheimer's - that is such sad news!
    I also really love James Taylor. Can't wait for your post!
    As for MacArthur Park @@...(the less said the better!)

  2. When I was scrolling down your page, the blue sky looked like icicles. A sign of things to come?

    These are very good song choices. Usually I don't much care for country music, but these are quite listenable. :) Have a great week!

  3. I'm a huge Taylor fan, too. Some how what he does is just rough enough around the edges that he doesn't get over commercialized (the way Fogelberg did).

    I didn't "get" country music until I was about 32.

  4. You know, I always liked country song titles like "Here's a Quarter, Call Someone Who Cares," and the like. I don't know that Webb actually started out writing a country song as such, I think it was just that Glen Campbell recorded it first. I wonder what might have happened if, say, Tom Jones had gotten to it first.


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