Since I was running more than a little bit late in composing my first piece for this writing exercise, I decided I’d get the second piece knocked out as early as possible, and since I was already up after midnight, this song seemed appropriate. Mind you, it also didn’t hurt that it was literally sitting directly above Jigsaw’s “Journey in Space” when I sorted iTunes by time, but you don’t exactly need to twist my arm to get me to write a few words about Glen Campbell singing a Jimmy Webb song.
The Campbell / Webb collaborations are the stuff of legend, revealing a singer-and-songwriter pairing as effective as the one between Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Campbell may have found success with other composers at various points during his career, but none of the others can touch the trifecta of “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” and “Galveston.” Webb provided Campbell with a number of other compositions over the years, too, including the comparatively obscure number you’re about to hear.
“Early Morning Song” made its debut on Campbell’s 1977 album, Southern Nights, an effort which is generally remembered first and foremost for its title cut. It’s a song about a fella who’s apparently spent a fair amount of time partying hardy and is starting to realize the toll it’s taking on his life, which from that description sounds like it could also be called “The Glen Campbell Story.” I don’t know if Webb intended it as a message to Campbell or not, but there are certainly lines which seem to be on topic, like, “We’re still laughing, but I… I ain’t that much fun no more.” Either way, “Early Morning Song” confirms that Campbell was still quite capable of wrapping his lips around a Webb composition and instilling it with all the emotion it deserves.
Unfortunately, it seems that we’ve heard the last of the Campbell / Webb collaborations: Campbell recorded Webb’s “Wish You Were Here,” formerly entitled “Postcard from Paris,” for his 2011 album Ghost on the Canvas, but due to Campbell’s battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, he won’t be recording anything written by anyone anymore. So when you listen to “Early Morning Song,” listen intently, bask in the performance, and when it’s over, be a little extra thankful for all the wonderful gifts that we got from these two guys working together.
To purchase a copy of Glen Campbell’s Southern Nights, click right here!