Tunesmith: The Songs of Jimmy Webb

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Jimmy Webb's songs have been covered by so many artists, and so many of his songs have been covered in multiple versions, that no compilation of Webb covers could please everyone. While this two-CD, 46-song compilation of Webb interpretations is highly worthwhile for fans of the songwriter, it falls somewhere between being a collection of the best-known Webb covers, and a more esoteric anthology of obscurities. As far as the biggest Webb-written hits, several of them are indeed here: Richard Harris' "MacArthur Park," Glen Campbell's "Galveston," the 5th Dimension's "Up, Up and Away," the Brooklyn Bridge's "Worst That Could Happen," and Art Garfunkel's "All I Know." ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Jimmy Webb's songs have been covered by so many artists, and so many of his songs have been covered in multiple versions, that no compilation of Webb covers could please everyone. While this two-CD, 46-song compilation of Webb interpretations is highly worthwhile for fans of the songwriter, it falls somewhere between being a collection of the best-known Webb covers, and a more esoteric anthology of obscurities. As far as the biggest Webb-written hits, several of them are indeed here: Richard Harris' "MacArthur Park," Glen Campbell's "Galveston," the 5th Dimension's "Up, Up and Away," the Brooklyn Bridge's "Worst That Could Happen," and Art Garfunkel's "All I Know." At the same time, however, some of the biggest Webb-penned smashes are missing, at least in the versions that made it the biggest. Among the absentees are Campbell's "Wichita Lineman" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," Isaac Hayes' "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," and the 5th Dimension's "Paper Cup" and "Carpet Man," though presumably anyone serious about listening to Jimmy Webb songs already has, or knows, where to get those recordings. True, "Wichita Lineman" and "By the Time I Get I to Phoenix" are represented here in different versions. But it's doubtful anyone would call King Harvest's medley of the two songs the most definitive interpretation, or Stevie Wonder's "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" as memorable as Hayes' take on the tune, or R.E.M.'s "Wichita Lineman" a match for the Campbell recording. There are also some Webb compositions of interest that are not represented here in any form whatsoever, like the aforementioned "Paper Cup" and "Carpet Man," not to mention "Orange Air," also first covered by the 5th Dimension. Even with those missing entries taken into account, there are a bunch of interesting interpretations and/or rarities here sure to be of interest to any Webb fan, or indeed to many soft rock fans in general. As for some of the big names weighing in with strong performances, there's Dusty Springfield's "Magic Garden"; Scott Walker doing both "If Ships Were Made to Sail" and "Where Does Brown Begin?"; Jackie DeShannon's "The Girl's Song," a highlight of her late-'60s work; the Four Tops' "Do What You Gotta Do," certainly Webb at his most soul--oriented; Judy Collins' "The Moon Is a March Mistress"; the Association's quirky early-'70s single "P.F. Sloan"; and the Supremes, with both "5:30 Plane" and "Cheap Lovin'." There are some unexpected, inspired inclusions of artists not known for singing the kind of things Webb writes, like Ian Matthews with "Met Her on a Plane", Paul Revere & the Raiders "Song Seller", Arlo Guthrie "Oklahoma Nights", Lowell George "Himmler's Ring", and the Three Degrees "Everybody Gets to Go to the Moon". Of most interest to Webb obsessives, though, will be the CD appearance of numerous rarities from his early days, like the Strawberry Children's 1967 single "Love Years Coming" on which Webb himself sings; the Contessas' soul-girl group meld, "I Keep on Keeping On," which according to the liners is the earliest known Webb cover; and some unlikely efforts, like Hugo Montenegro's "When It Was Done." Most of the tracks are from the late 1960s and early 1970s, though a few later outings by big names like Linda Ronstadt, Everything But the Girl, the Highwaymen, and R.E.M. are here, too. Some of the material, particularly some of the later selections on Disc Two, does cross the line from interesting pop and soft rock to the treacly side of adult contemporary music. A less forgivable flaw is the utter lack of original release dates and label information, a negligence that also afflicted Raven's compilation of lesser-known Burt Bacharach covers, The Rare Bacharach. That information really is appreciated by most of the collectors apt to buy a set like this, and its absence helps leave room for a larger, more definitive, multi-disc retrospective of Webb covers elsewhere.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/25/2003
  • Label: Raven [australia]
  • UPC: 612657018026
  • Catalog Number: 180

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Love Years Coming - Strawberry Children (2:47)
  2. 2 I Keep on Keeping On (2:27)
  3. 3 The Worst That Could Happen (3:05)
  4. 4 How Sweet It Is (2:36)
  5. 5 Up, Up and Away - The 5th Dimension (2:37)
  6. 6 The Girl's Song (1:49)
  7. 7 Tunesmith (3:07)
  8. 8 Requiem: 820 Latham - The Executives (3:08)
  9. 9 Magic Garden (2:24)
  10. 10 Galveston - Glen Campbell (2:38)
  11. 11 Just Another Piece of Paper - Glen Campbell (2:08)
  12. 12 MacArthur Park - Richard Harris (7:24)
  13. 13 If Ships Were Made to Sail - Scott Walker (2:36)
  14. 14 Where Does Brown Begin? - Scott Walker (4:34)
  15. 15 Song Seller (3:32)
  16. 16 Clowns Exit Laughing (3:11)
  17. 17 When It Was Done (3:43)
  18. 18 She Never Smiles Anymore (3:09)
  19. 19 Do What You Gotta Do (4:02)
  20. 20 Honey Come Back - Junior Walker & the All-Stars (4:19)
  21. 21 By the Time I Get to Phoenix (4:21)
  22. 22 My Christmas Tree - The Temptations (3:18)
  23. 23 Didn't We (2:47)
  24. 24 Mixed-Up Girl (2:30)
Disc 2
  1. 1 P.F. Sloan - The Association (4:01)
  2. 2 Wichita Lineman/By the Time I Get to Phoenix (4:17)
  3. 3 All My Love's Laughter (3:23)
  4. 4 The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (3:05)
  5. 5 Parenthesis (2:51)
  6. 6 The Name of My Sorrow (4:37)
  7. 7 The Old Man at the Fair (3:37)
  8. 8 Met Her on a Plane (3:35)
  9. 9 All I Know (2:25)
  10. 10 5:30 Plane - The Supremes (3:56)
  11. 11 Cheap Lovin' - The Supremes (4:19)
  12. 12 Everybody Gets to Go to the Moon - The Three Degrees (4:17)
  13. 13 She Moves, Eyes Follow (3:59)
  14. 14 Oklahoma Nights (3:23)
  15. 15 The Highwayman - The Highwaymen (3:02)
  16. 16 Himmler's Ring (2:30)
  17. 17 Lost Generation (3:19)
  18. 18 The Last Unicorn (3:43)
  19. 19 Where's the Playground Susie? (2:30)
  20. 20 Wichita Lineman (3:15)
  21. 21 You Can't Treat the Wrong Man Right (3:31)
  22. 22 Adios (3:36)
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Album Credits

Technical Credits
Jimmy Webb Composer
Glenn A. Baker Liner Notes
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