Thursday, October 23, 2008

Perfect Music For An October Morning

Many years ago, Amy Grant recorded "If These Walls Could Speak" on Lead Me On.  I was captivated by the tune, and later discovered - to my pleasure - that the composer was the same guy who wrote "All I Know", which I had discovered in the 70's when I heard Art Garfunkel.

Then I discovered - to my surprise - that the same composer wrote "Galveston", that anthemic tribute to the Texas gulf made wildly popular by Glen Campbell.  

Speaking of Glen Campbell, the same composer wrote "Wichita Lineman".

Then I discovered - to my shock - that the same composer wrote "Macarthur Park".  Yes, the 'someone-left-a-cake-out-in-the-rain', seven minute flurry of string climaxes and key changes.  Richard Harris.  Then Donna Summer.  Bad memories, anyone?

That was Jimmy Webb.

Let me say this:  put aside your preconceived notions of any of the afore-mentioned songs, and give this collection a try.  Jimmy Webb is one of the most profoundly perfect singer-songwriter's I've ever heard, and this cd showcases the strength of the lyrics and melodies under the gentle hands of their creator.

Good stuff.

*Interesting note, for those of you old enough to have heard 'Macarthur Park'; that song was originally written as part of a cantata.  Hmmm... It has been covered over fifty times, by the likes of Waylon Jennings, Frank Sinatra, The Three Degrees and the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corp.  When Richard Harris recorded it, he kept singing 'Macarthur's Park' - an incorrect possessive form.  Webb tried to correct him through several re-takes and finally just gave up.

(ain't wikipedia grand?)


Ed Schief said...

I can't hear, or even THINK of "If These Walls" without tearing up. We did it one weekend several years ago, and it's one of the only times I worked to play the piano part exactly like the recording.

Another song we did that really moved me was "My Father's Chair", by Dan Peek. At least I think it was Dan Peek. The 'America' guy.

Well, and as long as I'm on songs that move me, Carolyn Arends 'Reaching'.

don't eat alone said...

I have loved this record for years. We got to see him in Boston in a small jazz club sit at the piano and sing all of them. Wichita Lineman kills me when he does it. He is an amazing song writer.


vicki said...

I was a huge "5th Dimension" fan growing up. They did lots of Jimmy Webb songs. (and Laura Nero too) I didn't know he wrote "If These Walls Could Speak" We did "an interpretive movement"(dance) to this song many years ago. It's a neat song. You learn something new every day!