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Any Major Jimmy Webb Collection Vol. 1

Mention in conversation with pop music aficionados the name Jimmy Webb, and you will likely be met with approval for bringing up a respected yet generally underrated songwriter.

Any Major Jimmy Webb Collection 1

Of course, his quintet of stone-cold, indisputable classics — “Wichita Lineman”, “Galveston”, “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”, “MacArthur Park” and “Up Up And Away” — are well known, but many other Webb compositions are not as ubiquitous as they may deserve to be. Listen to this lot of songs and decide for yourself whether Webb’s music, beyond the quintet of classics, merits greater currency than it presently enjoys (the fact of this compilations would suggest that in my view it does).

Choosing the right version, and deciding which songs to leave off this mix, was desperately difficult. One omission is a little comical: I decided to do a Webb cover mix when I heard Rumer’s lovely version of the glorious “P.F. Sloan” — and I realised only after I had completed the cover art that I had neglected to include the song. Well, if this mix goes down well, there will be a Volume 2.

One of the songs which I really had trouble to decide which version to opt for was “Do What You Gotta Do”. Nina Simone’s version is glorious, as is Roberta Flack’s. The latter was already on the list (with See You Then); in the event the Four Tops won out by virtue of their version having been the first I had known of the song, and having loved it ever since the 1980s.

Among the great songs missing from this mix are “Didn’t We”, “If These Walls Could Speak”, “I Keep It Hid” and “A Tramp Shining”. Still, I managed to include the song with one of the weirdest song titles in the canon of pop: “Himmler’s Ring”, recorded by Little Feat’s late lead singer Lowell George in 1979.

Jimmy Webb, still only 66, is touring this year (see HERE). In 2011 released an album, Cottonwood Farm, which he recorded with his five sons (including Christiaan, of our track 2 here) and the son of Glen Campbell, the singer who inspired the teenager Webb to become a songwriter and who made hits of “Wichita Lineman”, “Galveston” and “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a CD-R and includes homemade covers. PW in comments.

1. O.C. Smith – Wichita Lineman (1969)
2. Glen Campbell – Christiaan No (1976)
3. Scott Walker – All My Love’s Laughter (1973)
4. Four Tops – Do What You Gotta Do (1969)
5. Dee Dee Warwick – If This Was The Last Song (1970)
6. Thelma Houston – Pocketful Of Keys (1969)
7. Brooklyn Bridge – Worst That Could Happen (1969)
8. A.J. Marshall – By The Time I Get To Phoenix (1969)
9. Julie Rogers – Which Way To Nowhere (1969)
10. Art Garfunkel – All I Know (1973)
11. Joe Cocker – It’s A Sin (When You Love Somebody) (1974)
12. Roberta Flack – See You Then (1971)
13. Jimmy Webb – Galveston (1993)
14. Judy Collins – The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress (1990)
15. Ian Matthews – Met Her On A Plane (1974)
16. Harry Nilsson – Life Line (1971, writtenm by Nilsson, covered by Webb)
17. Chuck Jackson – Honey Come Back (1969)
18. The Supremes – Cheap Lovin’ (1972)
19. Nancy Sinatra – Up, Up And Away (1967)
20. B.J. Thomas – If You Must Leave My Life (1969)
21. The 5th Dimension – Rosecrans Boulevard (1967)
22. Waylon Jennings and The Kimberlys – MacArthur Park (1969)
23. Lowell George – Himmler’s Ring (1979)

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  1. halfhearteddude
    May 30th, 2013 at 07:09 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Bo
    May 30th, 2013 at 07:40 | #2

    thanks

  3. May 30th, 2013 at 08:55 | #3

    There’s a song by the Boo Radleys called “Jimmy Webb Is God” that has pretty much been my mantra for the last 20 years. I saw him do a live show about 10 years ago and he seems a true gentleman too. Some excellent selections above, some of which I was unfamiliar with… but there will only ever be one very of Wichita Lineman for me (despite many other fine recordings of the song). Campbell’s WL is my favourite song of all time.

  4. Lisa
    May 30th, 2013 at 10:32 | #4

    LOVE this list. Agree that Webb’s own version of the gorgeous “Galveston” is the quintessential one. Also love “Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.”

    I might have added Fifth Dimension’s “Hideaway” and “Girls Song”

  5. HW
    May 30th, 2013 at 12:27 | #5

    Sweet! I love, Love Jimmy Webb – looking forward to adding some of these to my collection, and hopefully to your follow-up.

    Some of my favorites beyond the obvious: The Yard Went on Forever (the whole album is really fantastic, especially the title song + The Hymns From The Grand Terrace are in grand ott MaP tradition; Watermark, later by Art Garfunkel and The Hive: “God bless thou happy cubicle / Keep it safe and sanitized / Homogenized and pasteurized / There’s no place like numb”); The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Linda Rondstadt (for me, the best version; also Judy Collins’ live version with JW is lovely); really interesting is Rita Wilson’s take on Wichita Lineman (despite being Mrs Tom Hanks)… Highwayman… Scissors Cut… Paper Chase… Didn’t We – Dion Warwick; Four Tops & Beggars Opera do fine versions of MaP; check out Just Across the River from 2010 (some big names paying fitting tribute to JW).

  6. May 30th, 2013 at 17:45 | #6

    Wow! Just . . . wow!

  7. Dave
    May 30th, 2013 at 20:53 | #7

    Great compilation and nice to see Jimmy Webb getting his propers! But….”Life Line” by Harry Nilsson, while sounding like it could be a Jimmy Webb composition, is definitely written by the singer. Is there a connection I don’t know about?

  8. ebdukes
    May 31st, 2013 at 04:32 | #8

    Jimmy Webb is one of the great American composers…anyone who needs convincing should listen to Garfunkel’s Watermark album….thanks my friend for putting this mix together.

  9. Mark
    May 31st, 2013 at 05:53 | #9

    @Dave

    Jimmy Webb covered this song on the Nilsson tribute CD “For The Love Of Harry: Everybody Sings Nilsson”. But Dave is right, it was written by Nilsson himself.

  10. Mark
    May 31st, 2013 at 05:55 | #10

    Excellent collection, nonetheless!

  11. halfhearteddude
    May 31st, 2013 at 07:39 | #11

    Argh! How did I get that wrong? And it’s one of my least favourite songs on the collection as well……

  12. HW
    June 1st, 2013 at 17:48 | #12

    Top-notch collection. Choosing standout tracks would be pointless. This has really broadened my appreciation of his music.

  13. R.B.
    July 12th, 2013 at 23:45 | #13

    @halfhearteddude
    Himmler’s Ring is surreal. Many thanks! I regret not seeing Mr. Webb at his stop at my son’s university this spring, but reviews of other shows described them as shortish, and heavier on storytelling than singing.

  14. halfhearteddude
    July 13th, 2013 at 09:34 | #14

    Still, to be in the presence of genius! You’d not imagine a song called “Himmlers Ring” to be anything but surreal. Having long been a fan of Lowell George’s solo album, I was surprised to learn that Webb had written it.

  15. HW
    July 15th, 2013 at 17:26 | #15

    I appreciate the Nilsson mistake; Life Line took me in search of a catalogue far more rewarding than his Greatest Hits suggests. I’d love to get me hands on a copy of The Point, narrated by Ringo Starr and Dustin Hoffman!

  16. Rhod
    August 31st, 2013 at 03:00 | #16

    Thanks for the great share. A truly talented song writer.

    Regards

    Rhod

  17. RecordRoman
    July 29th, 2014 at 12:56 | #17

    Is there a current link for the Vol.1 file? Thank you in advance.

  18. halfhearteddude
    July 30th, 2014 at 17:25 | #18
  19. RecordRoman
    July 31st, 2014 at 09:07 | #19

    Thank you ever so much.

  20. derek
    April 9th, 2015 at 13:50 | #20

    any chance of new zippy file , this one is dead many thanks

  21. halfhearteddude
    April 10th, 2015 at 08:03 | #21

    New link is up.

  22. derek
    April 11th, 2015 at 16:39 | #22

    ok see it now

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