There are two kinds of people in this world: true believers who know Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb to be the country/pop equivalent of Lennon & McCartney and non-believers who've yet to see the light. For the latter, the brilliance of Campbell's voice and the dynamism of Webb's compositions presented in this tastefully produced session should be enough to convert even the most stubborn of the realm. For the former, "Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb In Session..." serves as documentation that the magic of their collaboration will never be duplicated.
Recorded in Ontario in 1988 by Ian Milne Anderson for the independent TV station CHCH, "In Session..." is a nine-song CD/DVD package covering the classics along with lesser known tunes from the Webb repertoire.
"There's a lot of empty space, separating me from you," Campbell sings in his beautiful baritone as the session opens with Light Years. Backed by a band left anonymous, the song is a nicely arranged as anything Campbell recorded during his heyday. After discussing the origin of If These Walls Could Speak, which was written for Waylon Jennings, Campbell shows why the song belongs to him with a gorgeous piano/guitar/string rendition equal to the original.
Campbell and company slow Galveston to the tempo where Webb says "it was meant to be," an organic arrangement highlighting Campbell's voice and Webb's tasteful piano playing. Wichita Lineman> is similarly graceful, Campbell's voice as strong as ever, the band playing tastefully and the strings wrapping themselves around the song like a warm jacket on a cold night.
Webb's The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" suffers somewhat here: it comes off somewhat flat and uninspired, made worse by Campbell's inexplicable decision to sport a satin Angels jacket during the recording. Even in the hands of a master, MacArthur Park is still one of the stupidest songs of all time. The pair did little to change that here, though it's worth watching to hear Campbell's Beach Boys-inspired guitar solo at the bridges.
Watch the DVD first, sing along to the CD while in the car and, true believer or not, bask in the genius of Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb at their intimate finest.