Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Folk, Pop, Rock
Jimmy?s one and only album for Atlantic featured George Martin production and the song ?Highwayman? that turned into a goldmine for Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash (and Webb, too, can you... more »
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Jimmy?s one and only album for Atlantic featured George Martin production and the song ?Highwayman? that turned into a goldmine for Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash (and Webb, too, can you imagine the songwriting royalties this guy gets?)! A Collectors? Choice Music exclusive!
M. Brust | Denton, TX United States | 08/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone with an ear will tell you that this is one of THE finest albums ever recorded. With songwriting and arranging skills of the caliber of Mr. Webb, the production genius of George Martin and the top studio muscicians, at the time, all on board, how could it be otherwise. Either due to Martin's influence or singing lessons, Jimmy's some-times shaky voice was reigned in, which added greatly to the emotional impact of these songs. Do yourself a sublime favor and get this just to listen to this version of "The Moon's A Harsh Mistress". One listen and you too will be saying "Amen!". Genius does not show up often. Don't miss this opportunity to hear an American Master at the peak of his powers. ......and god bless George Martin,too!"
Career songwriter's best contribution as a recording artist
Elliot Knapp | Seattle, Washington United States | 01/02/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Best known for writing hits that other artists made famous ("Up Up and Away," "Wichita Lineman," "MacArthur Park" and "Didn't We," to name a few), Jimmy Webb kept a pretty low profile as a recording artist, though not by choice. This album, as the excellent Collector's Choice Music liner notes describe, was his last concerted attempt in the 1970's of coming up with hit material that he himself recorded. Although history has shown that El Mirage really didn't succeed in garnering Webb a huge audience or any hits for himself, such results don't really reflect the excellent quality of the album. In fact, though the album wasn't a hit, a number of its songs did continue Webb's trend of providing hits for other artists.
The album's first cut, "The Highwayman," is one of the very best of the lot, emphasized by its later success by country super-group the Highwaymen. It's a mysterious narrative that links numerous colorful characters together. Webb's rough-around-the-edges voice fills each role excellently, supplemented by lush strings and French horn. These production values typify the entire album--lots of instruments, smooth textures, and plenty of backing vocals. It's easy to understand that Webb was going for some mainstream chart success and thus chose to outfit his record with as much pop trappings as possible, but the slick production works better on some songs than on others. Some of the less memorable songs are made to sound fairly dated by the production, proving that some modes of production and arrangement from the 70's have translated to modern times a bit better than others. Still, good songwriting shines regardless of production, and there are plenty of fine songs here.
"If You See Me Getting Smaller..." is mellow pop gold, matching many similar Eagles-esque tunes in quality, and is really enhanced by the female vocal arrangement. Other highlights are "P.F. Sloan," the heartfelt tribute to Webb's fellow songwriter (a song whose impact is only slightly dulled by the fact that Webb had already previously recorded it), and the gorgeous ballad "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress." Some songs don't work quite as well, like the disco-inflected "Mixed-Up Guy" and the somewhat out-of-place synthesizer-heavy closer, "Songbird (A Meditation)."
Overall, El Mirage is one of Jimmy Webb's very strongest solo recordings, easily proving that he deserved recording success matching his songwriting success. I'd especially recommend this album and artist to fans of Jackson Browne, Elton John, and Warren Zevon (Webb's rough voice often reminds me of a less dark version of Zevon's) and any of the other mellow rock coming from the West coast in the 70's. If you think that genre's got nothing left to show you, Jimmy Webb may change your mind."