Last night it was off to the Union Chapel in Islington to see Jimmy Webb & The Webb Brothers (plus also Romeo Thingummy from the Magic Numbers, a steel guitarist whose name I did not catch and Glen Campbell's son Cal - short for Caledonia apparently - on drums. Also Martin Carr who wasn't the bald one in the Boo Radleys providing very good support).
I was a bit uncertain about this gig beforehand because Jimmy's voice can perhaps best be described as "serviceable" and I wasn't sure him and the boys would be able to do justice to his wonderful songs. But it worked pretty well. You just have to accept that nobody will ever sing "Wichita Lineman" or "Galveston" or "Christiaan No" or whatever better than Glen and enjoy it on its own merits.
They played a good selection of the classics with the lads helping their Dad out on the notes that were clearly out of his range, taking the occasional verse and providing nice harmonies. For me their rendition of "P.F. Sloan" was probably the highlight of the set but they all sounded pretty good - even "MacArthur Park" which I have never much cared for.
Jimmy also has some cracking stories, most of which involve Richard Harris and the demon drink, although if they are anything like my own Dad's stories I imagine the lads have heard them hundreds of times by now.
The most pleasant surprise was the songs from the recent Jimmy Webb & the Webb Brothers album, "Cottonwood Farm", that were written by assorted brothers. I particularly liked "Tin Can" on which Christiaan Webb took the lead. The album is on eMusic so I might have to download a few tracks to share with you next month. Better still, do it yourself.
In the meantime, here are three of my favourite Jimmy Webb songs.
"P.F. Sloan" - Unicorn
"Do What You Gotta Do" - The Four Tops
"The Moon's A Harsh Mistress" - Jimmy LaFave
Of course, if you could only have one song by one performer it would have to be this one.