Jimmy Webb, Musical Instrument Museum, 2/1/13
Webb explained hanging out and while the state song, "Oklahoma Nights" with Vince Gill, a fellow Okie--"It's OK to say Okie now," Webb assured the crowd, "but if you said it to my dad, he'd have hit you." He followed this "that strange Jimmy Webb song," "Up, Up and Away," a Top 10 hit for the Fifth Dimension. Webb put a lot of effort into the song, pounding hard on the piano, but it was needed to push the "regularly" up-tempo soul hit along. Webb also worked his way through Art Garfunkel's hit "All I Know," Frank Sinatra's "Didn't We," as well a show closing "MacArthur Park."
For many of the songs there was almost a show tune or piano lounge quality far removed from the pop hits heard back in the day on the radio. But there was a little too much talk. While the anecdotes with delivered in humorous fashion, some went only longer than the songs he was introducing. A few more songs--Webb has some many to choose from in his 50-year career--would have been nice.
But, it was also nice to get inside the songwriting process and creative inspiration behind these iconic songs--you just can't make that kind of stuff up. It's a worthwhile trade-off when one considers few in recorded history have been able to make up songs like Webb--the proof is on the radio.
Last Night: Jimmy Webb, prolific hit songwriter
Personal bias: Many of his hit songs were in regular rotation as a kid. "Wichita Lineman" was the first song I learned on the guitar.
The crowd: With the exception of some teens/20s dragged undoubtedly by parents, I was the youngest person in attendance.
Random notebook dump: He's the consummate showman in love with the limelight--but he can tell a good tale.
Overheard: On the way out the door: "With all those stories about drinking and drunkenness, it's a good thing he stopped or he'd be dead for sure."