Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
10 Easy Pieces
Genres: Folk, Pop, Rock
Listen to Samples
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In The Presence Of Genius
Juan Mobili | Valley Cottage, NY USA | 01/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The title of this review is not a mistake. I did not mean to call it "In The Presence Of A Genius" and omitted the qualifying "a." To me, genius is something that either visits you or not, rather than something that any artist can take credit for owning and having developed out of will and skill alone. This album -in which Webb has chosen to interpret most of his famous songs accompanied by himself on the piano and some occasional, exquisite strings- is a journal of these visitations of graceful and undaunted creativity. For the sake of evidence, consider this: between 1966 and 1969 alone, he was responsible for writing such classics as "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman," "Up Up and Away," "MacArthur Park," and "Didn't We." The man composed all these beauties between the ages of 20 to 23! And, as impressive as this is, the fact that a single person wrote them all, even if they were dispersed along his whole career, would still constitute a musical miracle. But the wonders don't end there -with the startling recognition of such young man having the maturity to conceive amazing songs while still a babe- Webb is a great singer in his own right and a sensitive pianist too. His renditions offer a profound insight into a composer's vision of his work and rival its wonderful counterparts by Glen Campbell or Isaac Hayes, among others. This is a true gem, melodies gifted by wonderful words, and wonderful words brought to life by incomparable melodies. I've read that Burt Bacharach has been Webb's idol all his life, which in part may not be surprising after listening to this CD, yet it may also be said that Bacharach could be a fan of Jimmy Webb, if the consistent, profound quality of these songs is any indication of it. It's more accurate to say that you can consider Jimmy Webb Burt's peer: another landmark in American Pop music. So, get it now, either because you'll be in for an amazing array of delightfully composed songs, or because you'll encounter the radiance of genius' visitations on a young man."
Five Easy Stars
Paonia Dan | Western Colorado | 12/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a suprise and frankly, a shock. Webb is the finest modern day songwriter in my opinion. Harris, Campbell and then Garfunkel brought his work to us but I just didn't know he could perform his own songs with such class! The spartan arrangements are sheer genius. These songs take me to other places every time I dare listen. The music sparkles, it delights ... it goes deep into the soul. Emotional, intimate, haunting, timeless.
I agree that if I could keep only 10 cds forever, this would be in that teeny pile. Another gem is the Richard Harris/Webb cd from Australia with both the Webb albums on one ... 'The Yard Went On Forever' is maybe the the most overlooked amazingly powerful and wonderful album from the 60's. As good as 'A Tramp Shining' was ... it paled compared to the latter. I wore out 2 copies as a teenager back then!
Jimmy Webb ... man, you made life a whole lot greater in the music world and we are so glad to see you still doing it. Buy this cd and savor pure talent. You are indeed thee Tunesmith. And why not another album of 10 more of your tunes done in this fashion?
A big 'Thank You' from the mountains of Western Colorado."
Beautiful and Long Overdue
Nathan Southern | 05/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the late 1960s, after wringing dry the Great American Songbooks, the world's finest pop interpreters (Sinatra, Tony Bennett, et. al), began to turn away from standards by Gershwin, Porter, etc. and cover pieces from a "new wave" of composers: Lennon/McCartney, Randy Newman, Fred ("Everybody's Talkin") Neil, Paul Anka, and others. Jim Webb belongs to this group of writers, and he is certainly one of the most gifted/underrated. "Ten Easy Pieces" does for Webb what Bacharach's better retrospectives do for Burt... it demonstrates Jim's remarkable talent as a songwriter/composer of outstanding melodies, with a retrospective of tunes from the late sixties and early seventies, but doesn't rely on cover versions. In addition, the meanings of the songs emerge so much more clearly here (compare, for instance, Webb's version of "Galveston" to Glen Campbell's cut) that you may feel like you're listening for the first time. Each track is a small, painfully honest, beautifully structured poem about love, loss, and regret. Webb's deep, emotionally-strained, heartfelt vocals, spare instrumentation (piano; occasional fiddle, cellos, sax, and oboe), and session vocalists (Marc Cohn, Michael McDonald, others) give this album the delicacy it needs. For a shock, compare Webb's lightness-of-touch on "Ten Easy Pieces" to the extremes of "A Tramp Shining" and his 1970s retrospective "Archive" (available on Amazon.com --and elsewhere-- as an import). Compositionally, the earlier works are brilliant, but the interpretations (instrumentation + vocal acrobatics) suffer from excess and, in some cases ("All My Love's Laughter"), threaten to reach levels of high camp.(Side note: Anyone who hasn't seen Webb perform live is missing an entertaining, emotionally affirming experience. When he sings, he constantly stretches and strains his voice to high registers and reaches into his own heart to *feel* the lyrics. In addition, he's a master of shtick with hundreds of stories to tell, and an exceptional amount of stage presence)."