Sometimes you know from the second you skim the first few sentences of a press release that something is going to be baller. You just know. It's a great feeling.
I had one of those moments when Jared from Flannelgraph Records emailed me about the Jimmy Webb tribute LP that comes out at the end of September, Still on the Line. Webb, of course, is one of the best known and best loved American songwriters of the 20th century, whose collaborations with Glen Campbell, Art Garfunkel, The 5th Dimension, Carly Simon and others are innumerable and beloved.
We'll have much, much more about this album the week of the release date courtesy of Stephen Deusner, but for today, we're really happy to premiere the first track from Still On The Line, a version of Webb's "Ocean In His Eyes" by The Cairo Gang. (Fun fact: Cairo Gang leader Emmett Kelly is a frequent collaborator of Bonnie "Prince" Billy, who lays claim to track three of Still on the Line.) Webb released "Ocean In His Eyes" in 1974 on his album Land's End. According to Webb, it's an outlier in his catalogue as one of the very few songs he composed on guitar instead of his primary instrument, piano. Here's a bit from an interview with Webb from 2005 with Elsewhere:
"I wrote one song on the guitar many years called 'Ocean In His Eyes.' I wrote it on a tuning which was taught to me by Freddy Tackett who was my guitarist and now plays in the Little Feat band. All one summer I slaved on the guitar on one song and at the end I thought, “Okay, that’s it. I’ve done it.’"
Flannelgraph Records will take over LUNA on October 4 at 4 p.m. for a listening party for this album. Here's details on the release from the label:
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Title: Still On The Line: A Tribute To Jimmy Webb
Catalog Number: FGR054
Format: 12” Vinyl (with download)
Label: Flannelgraph Records
For the last 50 years, American popular music has been filled with the timeless songs of Jimmy Webb and we are thrilled to help continue that legacy with “Still on the Line: A Tribute to Jimmy Webb”. These are 12 new recordings by artists who share our passion for his songs, which we consider to be some of the most emotionally moving and skillfully crafted of all time. Part of Webb’s unique talent lies in the versatility of his songs. While “Where’s the Playground Susie” and “Galveston” were hits for Glen Campbell, they find a fresh new home in the voices of Bonnie “Prince” Billy & Elephant Micah. “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, considered by Frank Sinatra to be “the greatest torch song ever written”, sounds as heartbreaking as ever when performed here by Mike Adams At His Honest Weight. While none of these covers are meant to replace any of their previously recorded versions, they demonstrate the strength of these songs to grab our hearts no matter the genre, voice or decade where they find themselves.
All profits from the sale of “Still on the Line: A Tribute To Jimmy Webb” will go to benefit Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, a food pantry in Bloomington, Indiana.
The Cairo Gang "Ocean In His Eyes"
Nicholas Krgovich "The Moon's A Harsh Mistress"
Bonnie "Prince" Billy "Where's The Playground Susie"
Vollmar with Amy O. "Wishing Now"
Mike Adams At His Honest Weight "By The Time I Get To Phoenix"
Pop Zeus "Just This One Time"
Andrew Slater "The Magic Garden"
Elephant Micah "Galveston"
Wooden Wand "Once In The Morning"
Via Vegrandis "Sleeping In The Daytime"
Sister Sister "Marionette"
Pan-Pan Wen "Up, Up & Away"
And here's a version of "Ocean In His Eyes" by Glen Campbell: