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Review: Jimmy Webb & The Webb Brothers, Cottonwood Farm

Jimmy Webb & The Webb Brothers
Cottonwood Farm
[Proper American Records (2011)]

Three generations of Webbs (Jimmy Webb; his father, Bob Webb; and Jimmy’s four sons, Christiaan, Justin, James, and Cornelius) gather together for a spirited family romp through some of their favorite songs. With five songs written by Jimmy Webb (“Highwayman,” “Cottonwood Farm,” “If These Walls Could Speak,” “Where the Universes Are,” “A Snow Covered Christmas”), four written by The Webb Brothers (“Hollow Victory,” “Bad Things Happen to Good People,” “Mercury’s in Retrograde,” “Old Tin Can”), and one endearing classic chestnut sung by grandfather Bob Webb (“Red Sails in the Sunset”), it’s a total household affair, with everyone sharing vocal and instrumental duties—including backup singing by Camila and Sara Beth Webb. The melodies are quiet and dreamy with hints of melancholy, and the arrangements are carefully done to give space and power to the lyrics, which often hint back to a time long ago and far away. It was recorded at Joey’s Place in Los Angeles and produced by Justin Webb. Tim Walker helps out on pedal steel, and Cal Campbell (Glen Campbell’s son) plays drums.

—TJ McGrath (Woodbridge, CT)

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