Glen Campbell And Jimmy Webb: In Session

Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb
In Session
(Fantasy)
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 stars

The first commercial release of this CD/DVD as Glen Campbell finishes his final tour after a well-publicized Alzheimer’s diagnosis is far from coincidental. Still, it’s great to see Campbell and songwriter/pianist Webb collaborate for a laid back session recorded on a single December day in 1988 for a Canadian television series. The gig was split into two half hour TV shows which combine for a frustratingly short 45 minute DVD complete with distracting credits rolled over the end songs. It’s especially irksome that “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” arguably the duo’s biggest hit, is presented as a one minute tease but is never played in its entirety. Also, a dynamic “MacArthur Park” is interrupted by a Jimmy Webb interview segment about the song as it’s played in the background. Regardless, Campbell is in terrific voice, the nameless and predominantly faceless band provides strong support, and the program mixes rearranged classics such as “Galveston” and “Wichita Lineman” with rarities like the only known Campbell performance of a Webb tune named “Sunshower.” Webb’s short interviews are informative and casual on the DVD, but adding them to the CD disrupts the flow. In general, this is well worth buying for fans, but with more care taken to find additional footage and re-edit the existing tapes using current technology (as was done for the Stevie Ray Vaughan/Albert King reissue from the same TV show), the package could have been much better.