In a few hours, Rocks Off will be down at the Stafford Centre, watching the sold-out first Houston-area stop on Glen Campbell's extended "Farewell Tour." It might be the only one, but the tour is booked well into 2012, so we figure there's got to be a Dosey Doe date somewhere along the line.
We've been a fan of Campbell's for a long time, but we've got to tell you, we're a little nervous about the show. Campbell just released a new album, Ghost On the Canvas, featuring songs by Jakob Dylan, Paul Westerberg and Guided by Voices' Robert Pollard. It should figure heavily in year-end album voting - but not, unfortunately, for purely musical reasons. (So far Rocks Off has only heard the Westerberg-penned title track and it's great; Pollard's "Hold On Hope" is also one of our favorite GBV songs.)
Earlier this summer, Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and indeed told USA Today's Edna Gundersen he barely remembers making Canvas. Not so 1969's True Grit; evidently he does a killer John Wayne impression. We'll see what happens tonight, but back in the days before "True Grit" and "Wichita Lineman," the Arkansas native was one of the most sought-after session guitarists in L.A.
Here are a few of his credits:
The Champs, "Tequila" (1959)
The Green River Boys, Big Bluegrass Special (1962)
Jan & Dean, Surf City (1963)
"Little Old Lady From Pasadena"
Elvis Presley, "Viva Las Vegas" (1964)
The Righteous Brothers, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel, "The Sound of Silence" (1966)
Merle Haggard, Swinging Doors and The Bottle Let Me Down (1966)
"Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down"
The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds (1966)
"Sloop John B"
The Beach Boys, "Good Vibrations" (1966)
The Monkees, The Monkees (1966)
"Last Train To Clarksville"
Rick Nelson, Bright Lights and Country Music (1966)
Frank Sinatra, "Strangers In the Night" (1966)
Sagittarius, "My World Fell Down" (1967)
Nancy Sinatra, Sugar (1967)
Merle Haggard, Sing Me Back Home (1968)
"Son of Hickory Holler's Tramp"
BONUS: FIVE HIT SONGS CAMPBELL MAY HAVE PLAYED ON
Campbell racked up most of these instrumental credits, and many more, as a member of the Wrecking Crew, the legendary group of early-'60s L.A. session musicians. The Crew included drummers Hal Blaine and Earl Palmer; guitarists James Burton, Jerry Cole, Howard Roberts and Tommy Tedesco; and horn players Lou Blackburn, Roy Caton and Steve Douglas.
Besides Campbell, the most famous members of the Crew were conductor/arranger Jack Nitzsche and keyboardists Leon Russell and Mac Rebennack, aka Dr. John. A book about the Wrecking Crew, most famous for its association with Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound," is due out next year. Five more Wrecking Crew masterpieces:
The Ronettes, "Be My Baby"
The Ronettes, "Baby I Love You"
The Crystals, "And Then He Kissed Me"
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The Crystals, "Da Doo Ron Ron"
The Byrds, "Mr. Tambourine Man"