Glen Campbell & Jimmy Webb 'In Session' on Fantasy Records

Glen Campbell’s recordings of Jimmy Webb’s songs have resulted in timeless, chart-topping hits like “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” and “Where’s the Playground Susie,” among others. The two have performed countless times together over the years, though recordings of their live appearances have been a scarcity — until now, with the release of this two-disc In Session CD/DVD on the Fantasy Records label, scheduled for September 25, 2012.

In Session was taped in 1983 in the Hamilton, Ontario studios of CHCH-TV. The syndicated Canadian concert TV series was conceived and produced by Ian Milne Anderson as a way of pairing artists with deep mutual admiration, such as Campbell and Webb, B.B. King and Larry Carlton, Dr. John and Johnny Winter, and Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughan. (The King-Vaughan appearance is available on a Stax Records CD/DVD set also titled In Session.)

With Webb at the piano, the show featured Campbell on guitar, singing and playing the hits “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” and “Where’s the Playground Susie” along with less prominent Webb tunes including Campbell’s only known recording of “Sunshower,” initially written and produced for soul singer Thelma Houston.

Their first meeting may have been when Campbell went to Webb’s house to listen to what would become one of Campbell’s defining songs, “Wichita Lineman,” which he and his producer had commissioned from the Oklahoma tunesmith. Already Campbell had hit big with “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” although it hadn’t been written with him in mind (the singer had heard a version by Johnny Rivers who in turn had heard it on an unreleased Motown recording by Tony Martin). But once Campbell’s “Phoenix” sailed up the charts, they worked together to create several subsequent hits, relying on their musical chemistry and personal respect.

Campbell remains one of Webb’s closest friends. “What is happening with Glen, which is basically his long goodbye, is really one of the most painful things I’ve been through in my life,” said the songwriter of Campbell’s public battle with Alzheimer's disease. “There’s no way it can compare to what has happened with the family, but in terms of someone outside the family, I would have to be the one who feels the most.”

To be released on the heels of Campbell’s Goodbye Tour, the In Session CD/DVD collection includes not only rare, previously unreleased Campbell/Webb performances of some of Campbell's biggest hits, but also features a version of Webb’s “MacArthur Park” (best known for the rendition by Richard Harris), plus “Sunshower,” “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress,” and “Still Within the Sound of My Voice” — all gems from the pen of Webb. This collection is also interspersed with excerpts from an interview with Webb and engaging and insightful reminiscences between the two legendary artists.

Lee Hildebrand wrote the very moving liner notes for this two-disc package detailing the triumphs and tragic ending of their musical collaboration.

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