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Just Across the River

51 customer reviews

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Just Across The River
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Editorial Reviews

The critical acclaim composer Jimmy Webb has received during his more than forty years of success is as remarkable as the accomplishments they honor: Webb is the only artist to ever receive Grammy awards for music, lyrics, and orchestration; he is a member of the National Academy of Popular Music Songwriter s Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriter s Hall of Fame; and, according to BMI, his By The Time I Get To Phoenix, (sung on the new album in duet with Glen Campbell---the first time the two have ever recorded together) has been the third most performed song in the last fifty years. Webb s Wichita Lineman (performed here with Billy Joel and Jerry Douglas) has been listed in the Top Fifty of MOJO Magazine s worldwide survey of the best one hundred singles of all time, and was singled out in the Oct/Nov 2001 issue of Blender as The Greatest Song Ever.

Webb was known initially for the instant classics he provided for such artists as Campbell, Richard Harris ( MacArthur Park, Didn t We ), the Fifth Dimension ( Up, Up and Away, This Is Your Life ), and Johnny Maestro s Brooklyn Bridge ( Worst That Could Happen. ) Jimmy also topped the Country charts when Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson hit #1 with The Highwayman, a ballad which won him yet another Grammy for Best Country Song of the Year, and a CMA Award for Single Of The Year. On Just Across The River, Jimmy shares the mike with Mark Knopfler on this tune. Linda Ronstadt, who has recorded a multitude of Webb songs throughout her recording career, included four of his efforts on her double platinum album, Cry Like A Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind. She s on board here for a heartwarming, intimate closing duet on All I Know, the Webb standard made famous by Art Garfunkel. And that s just the beginning. As a performer Jimmy has released numerous critically-acclaimed albums over the years, earning distinguished reviews in all of the major publications, and unqualified praise following his appearances in concert halls and top cabaret venues. But he has never attempted a project like Just Across The River, where his singing AND songwriting is celebrated by the collaborations of his peers, like Jackson Browne and Willie Nelson, as well as artists who have revered his music for years, like Lucinda Williams, Michael McDonald, and Vince Gill. There has never been a songwriter like Jimmy Webb. And there has never been an album of his songs like Just Across The River.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 29, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: E1 Music
  • ASIN: B003H093SK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,134 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Constant Listener on June 29, 2010
Format: Audio CD
People talk about the Great American Songbook of Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, etc. There is a second Great American Songbook, populated by the likes of Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Burt Bacharach, and so on---writers who came of age in 60s and 70s, and whose work resonates deeply to this day.

Jimmy Webb is at the top of that list. He has made many great records of his own (Ten Easy Pieces and Land's End in particular) but never achieved status as a performer to equal his immortality as a songwriter, even though he tours regularly. This album goes a long way in re-connecting Jimmy with some of his greatest songs, and the connectors are a group of amazing voices. Some of the guests are artists who have sung his songs and had huge hits with them, like Glen Campbell and Linda Ronstadt and Willie Nelson. Others have loved and been influenced by Jimmy's work, like Jackson Browne and Lucinda Williams. And Billy Joel. His version of Wichita Lineman is a revelation! Everyone on the record obviously loves Jimmy and sings at their best. They inspire Jimmy to do his best singing ever. I feel like all of the versions of these songs are fresh and compare favorably with the original hits.

The production is great. Really transparent and supportive of the songs and the singers. The supporting musicians are some of Nashville's best, like Jerry Douglas. The whole album hangs together like albums used to do. It feels a little bit country, a little bit classic singer-songwriter pop, and never goes too far over the top and sentimental. These songs work best with a subtle touch.

If you've been into the James Taylor/Carole King album and tour, there's no way you won't love this record. Jimmy Webb's music comes from the same timeless place.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By kerouac's ghost on June 30, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It is hard to be truly unique in popular music. Jimmy Webb comes about as close as anyone. He is the Godson of Brian Wilson, Cole Porter, George Gershwin and, just a tad, Hank Williams...and the step brother of Tom Waits. Webb's songs, if they can be defined by one characteristic (and they really can't - I am over simplifying), are centered in melancholy. Structurally, stylistically, they can be downright weird. In the most beautiful way. Listen to "Wichita Lineman" (Glen Campbell's towering, sonic version). He also represents an era long gone, try as some youngsters might to replicate it. Jimmy Webb is southern California. The Beach Boys. The Mammas and the Pappas. Tie dye t-shirts and sandals. Blonde bikini'd girls who break your heart. "Drinkin' margaritas all night in the old cantina." Jimmy Webb is laid back southern California pop's soul (though I understand he now lives in New York...yikes!).

On this record, some of Webb's classic (and some not so classic) numbers are taken on by some notable artists. To get the not-so-good stuff out of the way. "By The Time I Get To Phoenix", with Webb's best collaborator of days passed, Glen Campbell, is an obligatory version. Campbell should have been given something meatier to sink his teeth into (what could he possibly do with a song he has probably sung - literally - thousands of times). "Oklahoma Nights", with Vince Gill, sounds like Webb was forced, at gunpoint, to write a song for modern country radio. Ugh. Most disappointing is Billy Joel's contribution to the song that is widely considered Webb's masterpiece, the aforementioned "Wichita Lineman".
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By the fly on June 29, 2010
Format: MP3 Music
Thanks to Amazon - Not only for the low price for this collection, but also for putting Jimmy Webb on the front page of their latest "New Releases" e-mail. Jimmy has been writing incredible songs for over 40 years and it's about time he made the front page! He certainly deserves to be applauded as one of the greatest songwriters of his time. The care taken with these tracks is worthy of his composing skills.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Mulligan on July 7, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Say what you want about rehashing old songs again and again; when the final product sounds as inspired as this, I have zero problem investing in it. Webb sounds as proud of every word as they day they came together as a song, and I can hear "Jimmy, I'd be HONORED" oozing from each guest artist. I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome, and bet everyone involved feels the same. Great stuff.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William Merrill VINE VOICE on July 17, 2010
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Just Across the River is Jimmy Webb's "Duets" album, except it's not posthumous (thank goodness), and the guest singers actually sang in the same studio during the same recording sessions as Mr. Webb. The guests are a very impressive bunch, including (in my personal "wow factor" order) Jackson Browne, Billy Joel, Glen Campbell, JD Souther, Lucinda Williams, and other well regarded singers. Mr. Campbell built a whole career singing Webb's songs, so it's particularly good to hear the two sharing "By The Time I get To Phoenix". There's a nice song selection from across the great songwriter's career, although Jimmy's written so many top tunes, it's easy to list some left-off favorites. What's there is still highly satisfying, though; plus we get one new song, the very beautiful "Where Words End," sung with Michael McDonald. With only the one new item, I can understand the frustration some fans have with this album being yet another re-do of Webb's songbook. Beginning with the Ten Easy Pieces CD, he's dug back into his bag of tricks several times now. But I have two responses to that notion. First, if anybody ever deserves to rest on his laurels, it's one of the very best American songwriters we've known. Second, these songs and the new versions are grand enough that I'm just thankful to hear them, even though I've heard the melodies many times before.
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