The idea of releasing a collection of Jimmy Webb's best known songs sung by the author himself may seem like a no-brainer, but it's taken 20+ years for it to happen, apparently mostly because Webb needed to put some distance between himself and most of these numbers, in order to approach them in a fresh manner that makes this disc more than a mere exploitation effort. The result is the best and most accessible of all Webb's albums, featuring his 1990s' takes on "Galveston," "By The Time I Get to Phoenix," "Didn't We," "MacArthur Park," "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress," "Wichita Lineman," and "All I Know," amongst others. His voice is more expressive than ever, and the performances are generally grittier, with more raw emotion than the better known hit versions display. The arrangements are generally very simple and straightforward, with Webb's piano the primary instrument, and several of the songs are performed in a deeply personal manner, more akin to home recording for Webb's own pleasure than to a commercial release -- "Wichita Lineman," in particular, sounds here like the most personal and private of performances, filled with wrenching loneliness at which the Glen Campbell version only hints. The notes are very personal and revealing as well.
Performance CreditsJimmy Webb Primary Artist,Piano,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,Vocals
Marc Cohn Background Vocals
Shawn Colvin Background Vocals
Michael McDonald Background Vocals
David Hetherington Cello
Audrey King Cello
Steven MacKinnon Accordion
Matthew McCauley Background Vocals
Fred Mollin Acoustic Guitar,Autoharp,Background Vocals
Dean Parks Guitar
Oliver Schroer Fiddle
Susan Webb Background Vocals
Lesley Young Oboe
Paul Widner Cello
Pat Perez Soprano Saxophone
Steve Smith Pedal Steel Guitar
Technical CreditsJimmy Webb Contributor,Liner Notes
Bill Harwell Engineer
Jay Landers Executive Producer
Matthew McCauley String Arrangements
Fred Mollin Producer
Jeff Wolpert Engineer
Glen Marchese Engineer
Robert Abriola Art Direction
Brian Nevin Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Ten Easy Pieces based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
A beautiful album. It's wonderful to hear a songwriter offer their own insight into their own music. A simple emphasis on a word here or there, different phrasing, can make one appreciate the song all the more. I enjoyed every track on this album. Do yourself a favor, buy it.
After hearing one of the pieces on this CD on the radio, I immediately ordered it and have not been disappointed. Although all of the pieces are familiar, none are mundane. The vocals are accompanied with extraordinary piano background using novel chord progressions that cause the listener to pay attention. Several of the tunes on the CD were made popular years ago by Glen Cambell, but this is definitely not done in country style. The sound is sophisticated and Webb's voice clarifies the words making the listener stop and realize the real meaning on each song. Galveston, the first piece on the CD, should cause emotion to rise in most listeners. This CD is a deinite favorite and I look forward to finding others of this type.
Of all the important songwriters (and those who could sing) of the '60's Jimmy Webb is arguably my favorite. While others during that era tuned into folk, psychadelic, r&b; Jimmy remained true to "pop" standards. Perhaps that is why much of his music still endures to this day, as does Rogers and Hart, Berlin and Porter. It is lyrically witty and musically complex. I own all of his early works, but this is a stand out. It is just Jimmy, piano, some additional musicians playing just the hits. His voice is pure, the album is delight. I would love to see him do a part 2, with some lesser known songs of his, such as "Magic Garden", "Summer's Daughter", "Watermark", etc. If you want to own one album by Webb, this would be the one, the singer and his songs.