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RIP Glen Campbell

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RIP Glen Campbell

Postby Shooshie » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:24 am

Glen Campbell is dead at 81 years after a bout with Alzheimers. Campbell was huge in the 1960s and 70s, largely forgotten now if you weren't alive then. For his practiced apparent naiveté,he was the butt of a lot of jokes, but if you saw him with Don Rickles and that crowd, you realized that he loved it, and his preternatural sense of self confidence, plus a quick wit and a love for laughing made him fun no matter what anyone said. He was a great pop singer, I guess he was country oriented. I never really figured out how he was classified. But what is less known is that he was a fabulous studio guitarist. Again, that self confidence served him well, and it had to come from somewhere; probably from his ability on a guitar. I can't say that his music was on my favorites list, but I often stopped and listened when I heard him. He was good.

He used to record at a little studio in Paradise Valley, Arizona. I saw him there a few times, and while he saw me and smiled, we never actually shook hands. He was the same person off-stage as on. Serious about enjoying life, a little bit loud, oblivious to anyone or anything that got in his way, always smiling and laughing. Maybe that was just his public persona, and when he got home he became morose and sullen, but I kind of doubt it. I think he spread joy to his fans, because he was just a person who felt a lot of joy. Divorced three times, his wives maybe didn't see it quite that way. Well, that's not my business. The guy was a star, a fine musician, and an upbeat personality. He leaves behind a number of recordings that will be immortal, like their style or not.

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Re: RIP Glen Campbell

Postby mikehalloran » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:45 am

He made some of my favorite records from the late 1960s and his Summer TV shows were watched religiously at my house.

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Re: RIP Glen Campbell

Postby HCMarkus » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:32 am

I'll always remember the guitar player in my first band telling me that he watched a TV show in which Glen completely outshredded George Benson. My guitarist was surprised and amazed.

The personality Shooshie describes here was evident even as Mr. Campbell's Alzheimers progressed. Glen is out there, "Still on the Line," somewhere... RIP.
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Re: RIP Glen Campbell

Postby Shooshie » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:04 pm

There are two guitarists, besides Chet Atkins, who are God's unsung gifts to shredding. Glen Campbell and Jerry Reed. Both are southern boys with similar personalities and confidence you couldn't shake with a wrecking ball. Both could play just about anything, and both got their start in the studio.

If you've any doubt about Campbell's versatility, check out these solos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrtWZiguvuY

Some people are just born with it.

And if anyone needed convincing about Glen's command of respect in the music business, take a listen to Alice Cooper — another Scottsdale resident who played golf with Glen a few times a week. (Alice also was no stranger at that little studio in Paradise Valley) This was recorded just 2 days ago.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6q2hsdXenQ
[note: audio is really poor; left channel only, too quiet]

Glen Campbell had it all. Did it all. Lived the life we all kinda dreamed about when we got in the business all those years ago. We all have to go sometime. I'm just sad that he had to go this way. I think a lot of people are. Alice Cooper lost one of his best friends. I know what that's like, too. But I'm glad these guys have continued to do it all these years. It's their identity. These guys were among my idols as a kid.

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Re: RIP Glen Campbell

Postby buzzsmith » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:06 am

You might enjoy this...

https://americansongwriter.com/2012/01/ ... a-lineman/

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Re: RIP Glen Campbell

Postby HCMarkus » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:01 am

buzzsmith wrote:You might enjoy this...

https://americansongwriter.com/2012/01/ ... a-lineman/

Buzzy


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Simply lovely Buzz! Thanks.
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Re: RIP Glen Campbell

Postby Tritonemusic » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:56 am

Shooshie wrote:If you've any doubt about Campbell's versatility, check out these solos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrtWZiguvuY


There's a lot of gold in that video.
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Re: RIP Glen Campbell

Postby Gravity Jim » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:37 pm

Jimmy Webb says that the peculiar structure of "Wichita Lineman" was a mistake.

He sent an early demo of just the first two verses of the song to Campbell to get his initial impression, figuring that he'd write a bridge and a third verse later. They met up many weeks later, and Webb said, "So, how'd you like that song about the lineman I sent you?" And Campbell said, "That was so great!" Webb said, "Well, it's not finished yet..." and Campbell replied, "The hell you say! We cut it two weeks ago! It's on the new album!"

It reminds me of a story about a first-grade teacher who, on parent-teacher night, got a large number of compliments about how much better the art projects from her class were than any of the others. A parent asks, "Are you teaching them something special, like technique or composition?" And the teacher supposedly replies, "No... I just know when to take their drawings away from them."

The succinctness of the recorded version of "Wichita Lineman" gives it a depth and vividness it might not otherwise have... good thing Glen knew when to take Jimmy's crayons away!
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Re: RIP Glen Campbell

Postby Shooshie » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:35 pm

Great story, Jim. And I wasn't even aware. I'm going to have to listen to it again. I don't think I've heard that song since about 1968. (now tell me it wasn't recorded until 1971!) Anyway, it was a long time ago. I just remember 1968 being about the time that I made some horse-related trips with my dad (our business was racehorses), and we ate in diners, and Glen Campbell was playing on the jukebox. Seems like Wichita Lineman, Galveston, and By the Time I Get to Phoenix were always in play. Those songs — and Campbell — always have a special place in my memories because of that.

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Re: RIP Glen Campbell

Postby Shooshie » Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:06 am

buzzsmith wrote:You might enjoy this...

https://americansongwriter.com/2012/01/ ... a-lineman/

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Thanks Buzzy. I just got around to looking at that. It tells the same story about Wichita Lineman that Jim told in another post, but fills out all the details. Great story.

This thread has gotten me back in touch with Glen Campbell, who I had nearly forgotten about before he died. He was one of those people I heard on the radio and juke boxes back in the day, but simply never made an effort to get to know. I had heard long ago that he was one of the Beach Boys. I seem to remember something about him and the Wrecking Crew. Was he part of that gang of studio players? His prowess as a guitarist and vocalist made him a desirable. Everyone wanted him on their record, because he was one of the guys who could do it all. In time, in tune, in style, and better than anyone else.

Listening to some of the examples of him on YouTube impresses me to no end. He was positively one of the best vocalists out there in the styles he sang. Whereas Johnny Cash was Johnny Cash, whether performing or ordering coffee at a diner, and Willie Nelson is simply himself, your best buddy with a guitar and a joint, Glen Campbell was sort of a chameleon, an anybody/everyman. But when he stepped up to a microphone or picked up a guitar, he became this incredible musician for whom there was almost no explanation. Prodigy? Genius? Or did he just practice 24/7? I get a distinct feeling that the latter wasn't necessary for him. He was a natural showman and incredible vocalist. His vocal talent surpasses Marty Robbins, Cash, Haggard, and all others, probably excepting Elvis — another natural. But to have that kind of voice, and that incredible guitar playing, then his natural ability in front of a camera and audience, all rolled up in one person made him a very special kind of talent.

Funny thing; when I used to see him at that studio, I would think "there's that guy who used to do the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, and I was never all that impressed with that kind of show. Hee-Haw, or even Roger Miller's show — they all were corny and seemed to fill time on TV with good "wholesome" stuff, and an occasional good song, and wayyyy too much grinning. I never paid Glen any attention after that. But I was standing in the presence of one of the all time greats and didn't know it. It's funny what a lifetime in music will teach you about someone who knew it all before he ever left home. I hear it and see it now. Back then I had no idea.

Some of those videos out there show him surrounded by the music stars of his day, and he's moving them with his song, drawing them in, making them want more, but because they are all performers, what really enraptures them is the fact that he can do that to them. He's better than every last one of them. But only when you hand him a guitar and put him in front of a mic. Johnny Cash goes home and wears black. Willie Nelson goes home and smokes a doobie. Merle Haggard goes home and gets drunk. Tammy Wynette goes home and stands by her man.

But when Glen Campbell puts down the guitar and walks away from the mic, he goes and plays golf with Alice Cooper, and just takes a bite out of life, and maybe a bite out of Tanya Tucker. He isn't trying to be anyone. He doesn't have to be. He's a fracking guitar legend who can make any vocal sound about 1000% better... without seeming to really try. It's just in him. I dearly hope he's still out there on that line, looking for overloads.

Shooshie

PS: I hope I'm not boring you all. I sincerely did not realize what Glen was. I'm impressed beyond belief. I appreciate a lot of people doing a lot of things, but when it come to talent, I know the real deal when I see it, and I don't care who it belongs to; I respect it. It's one of two things that make me proud to be a human being. The other one is compassion. When it comes to the genuine articles, I'm not sure which one is the rarest. But when you come across either in their pure forms, you simply have to stop and show some respect.
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Re: RIP Glen Campbell

Postby Gravity Jim » Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:15 pm

I did learn a cool detail about Mr. Campbell at a studio in Arizona, from an engineer who worked with him: he can't sing with headphones on. His pitch goes crazy. He can work with a single-cup phone, but what he likes is a small monitor speaker right in front of him, in the null zone of a cardio mic. The guy I worked with said, "Once he's hearing what he likes to hear, he's incredible. But put headphones on him and he goes a 1/4 tone flat."

Fortunately, he knew this technique and mentioned the story because the singer I brought in, so amazingly good just standing next to a piano, had exactly the same problem. I thought I was doomed, but he fixed it so she could sing. Whew.

This was 22 years ago, my first year in business. I was glad to have learned this trick early on.
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Re: RIP Glen Campbell

Postby buzzsmith » Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:13 pm

Excellent, Shooshie.


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Re: RIP Glen Campbell

Postby Shooshie » Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:23 pm

Gravity Jim wrote:I did learn a cool detail about Mr. Campbell at a studio in Arizona, from an engineer who worked with him


That wouldn't have been Rusty D'Agnolo, would it? I don't remember who did Glen's sessions at Chaton. This was when it was still at its original location. A friend of mine tuned his guitars. Glen would call her into the studio to freshen up his tunings. Now why would he need someone to tune his guitar? Well, if you saw her picture, you'd probably realize that it had nothing to do with being deficient in guitar tuning. She looked like Doris Day if Doris had been built like Sophia Loren. Probably inspired him for the next tune.
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