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Jimmy & Me cover art
Jimmy & Me (MP3)

words & music by Jimmy Webb

Favorite version: Art Garfunkel, Angel Clare, 1973

Notes:

This song is the most famous one of the entire collection. Though it's been recorded quite a few times, I think the original version is still my favorite. Some have called "Wichita Lineman," another of Jimmy's more famous works, the "perfect song." While I agree that one's hard to beat, for my money, it's this one. It would be hard to find a more sincere, beautiful, heartbreaking ode to loss. There've been so many times in my life when all the wrangling and ranting and raving has...

Jimmy cover art
Jimmy & Me (MP3)

words & music by Jimmy Webb

Favorite version: Art Garfunkel, Angel Clare, 1973

Notes:

Couldn't think of a better song to end this collection with than this gorgeous lullaby. It's for my newest grandniece, the "Big Mac," my future grandnieces and nephews, my nieces and my nephew; it's for my sister, my sister-in-law and my brother and brother-in-law (even though they're technically already covered in "Wooden Planes"); it's for my wonderful Mom, and for Dad, and for my grandparents and all the rest of my marvelous family; it's for you and yours,...

Jimmy cover art
Jimmy & Me (MP3)

words & music by Jimmy Webb

Favorite version: Jimmy Webb, And So: On, 1971

Notes:

Oh, the images in this song! This one is right up there with Joni's "River" in the "running away" genre. "If I could fall up the long night, reach to time gone..." These are not only wonderfully evocative lyrics, but true in an astronomical sense. When you lie flat on your back and look up, you're looking out, really. Out of the world, and back in time. And if you could turn off gravity, you could literally fall up the long night, and reach to time gone.

I used...

Jimmy cover art
Jimmy & Me (MP3)

words & music by Jimmy Webb

Favorite version: Jennifer Warnes, soundtrack from Winter People, 1989

Notes:

Like the last song, it starts out rather ordinary—"all I have to do is"—and then zings you at the end—"catch some lightning in a bottle." Like it's the easiest thing in the world. I'll just take a walk out on the water. Yeah, right. "Just one little miracle has to succeed." Just a little miracle. Ever needed one of those?

I remember a beautiful afternoon about 25 years ago, sitting out in back of my Ann Arbor apartment in a lawn chair,...

Jimmy cover art
Jimmy & Me (MP3)

words & music by Boudleaux and Felice Bryant

Favorite version: Jimmy Webb, Letters, 1972

Notes:

Jimmy didn't write this song, but I discovered it on his Letters album. And the way he sings it, he might as well have written it. As I said, I often performed it, and I think I rather shocked people with it. I was doing contemporary Christian music mostly, and when I unleashed this one... Well, jaws dropped. It's the flip side of the coin, you see. Love could not be quite so wonderful and heavenly if it could not also hurt like...

Jimmy cover art
Jimmy & Me (MP3)

(originally Met Her on a Plane) words & music by Jimmy Webb

Favorite version: Jimmy Webb, And So: On, 1971

Notes:

This has always been one of my favorites. Probably because I had an experience very like this once myself. Or twice... This is a prime example of how Jimmy takes a supremely personal moment and turns it into an evocative song that anyone ever struck dumb by a pair of eyes can relate to. Of course, for me, the eyes weren't feminine. But feel free to use your imagination, the way I've always done...

Jimmy cover art
Jimmy & Me (MP3)

words & music by Jimmy Webb

Favorite version: Linda Ronstadt, Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind, 1989

Notes:

Even though I love Ronstadt's version of this, I've always thought it was too short. I guess I just love the song so much I never want it to end. (Ever feel that way about a song?) Anyway, I added a repeat so it wouldn't end quite so soon.

What a simple, beautiful lyric. And the surprise chord that shatters the middle of each verse... Another perfect one. I think it follows "Simile" exceptionally well, not just because it starts in the same key...

Jimmy cover art
Jimmy & Me (MP3)

aka You Might As Well Smile
words & music by Jimmy Webb

Favorite version: Art Garfunkel, Watermark, 1978

Notes:

These next three songs are so resolute and positive and indefatigable that I'm hoping they'll inspire you to forgive me for the previous two... This one's a lot like the Serenity Prayer, I think—only a lot more personal. The plea starts out so deadpan that it lulls you into a false sense of blitheness. "You might as well smile..." No high-sounding motivations or promises, just "no pain...

Jimmy cover art
Jimmy & Me (MP3)

words & music by Jimmy Webb

Favorite version: Jimmy Webb, Letters, 1972

Notes:

This is the most beautiful song about writing a song I've ever heard, and I think it completely blurs the line between poetry and music. Songwriting has always been a mystical thing to me, and "Simile" lays bare that mystery like no other song I know. Lonnie (my poet friend who sang backup on this) absolutely fell in love with this song as she was learning it and included the lyrics in her journal. Check out page 4 of Tunesmith, Jimmy's book on songwriting, to read some of the...

Jimmy cover art
Jimmy & Me (MP3)

words & music by Jimmy Webb

Favorite version: Jimmy Webb, Twilight Of The Renegades, 2005

Notes:

A friend helped me discover this song, for I had somehow missed it when it was first released. I love how the rootless, restless lyrics float over the rootless, restless harmonies. Just how a song about skywriting should be. And as far as the flying genre goes, this song is right up there with Joni's "Amelia" (a judgment I don't pronounce lightly).

We did a promo poster about the time my Singer album came out that said, "...

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