“Hey Little One”

An introduction into Campbell’s early recordings

This record was a find from a charity shop in Low Fell a month ago. There were numerous Glen Campbell albums on the rack, most of them numbered – this one is No. 5, which leads me to believe that they were all from the same box-set. They were probably released some time in the seventies.

There’s a version of Dorsey Burnette’s “Hey Little One” on Side two of the disc, I was quite surprised to hear this moody number by Glen Campbell. I’m more familiar with the song from renditions by mid-sixties garage groups The Mersey Men and The Shandells.

Back cover liners:

“By The Time I Get To Phoenix” – a plaintive love song of the sixties, a day in the death of love. “She’ll find the note I left hanging on her door; she’ll laugh when she reads the part that says I’m leaving ’cause I left that girl so many times before.”

That song was more than just a sensitive tale of a love affair that had ended, or another set of beautiful lyrics from one of the most important writers of the decade, Jimmy Webb.

“By The Time I Get To Phoenix” catapulted Glen Campbell – part-time and full-time sessionman – into lasting commercial success. It was the launching pad for a super-star and, before the sixties were over, was to help create a music business phenomenon.

The song, and the performance, reaped their reward. “Phoenix” went straight to the top of the American national charts and brought Glen a number of Grammy Awards from Hollywood’s National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. It also opened up concert appearances, nightclub work, television and the cinema to the new star.

Contrary to popular believe, however, Glen Campbell was not an overnight success and the groundwork for his rise to stardom was both long and arduous.

Glen’s musical roots were ‘country’ and can be traced back to the earliest days. Born on 22nd April, 1936, on the outskirts of Delight, Arkansas, Glen was the seventh son of a seventh son in a farm family of eight boys and four girls. Because his parents were musical his apprenticeship began practically immediately.

By the age of four he was ‘picking’ on a five-dollar guitar purchased by his father, Wesley Campbell, from a Sears Roebuck mail order catalogue. In two years he had progressed from entertaining the family to singing and strumming on local radio stations, his audiences stretching across Arkansas and two neighbouring states.

It was during his early teens that Glen Campbell joined his first band, a western group centred in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and led by his uncle, Dick Bills. The outfit, the Sandia Mountain Boys, featured Glen as singer and lead guitarist and, throughout his high-school years, he found regular guitar work touring the United States’ southwest region playing dates at what he affectionately describes as ‘dancin’ and fightin’ clubs’.

Although basically a country band, the group soon adjusted itself to playing anything the customers requested . . . country, jazz, or whatever.

Later he formed his own band and found a regular home base at the Hitching Post in Albuquerque. It was here that he first met Billie Nunley, later to play an important role in his life as Mrs. Glen Campbell.

Although the band continued to attract the crowds, it was Glen’s skill as a guitar-picker that attracted the most acclaim. His friends advised him to seek his fortune on the West Coast where country musicians were in constant demand.

Eventually, in 1960, the Campbells packed their belongings in their ’57 Chevrolet and, armed with a nest-egg of three hundred dollars, set off for Hollywood. Success, however, wasn’t instant and while Glen found employment with The Champs and a combo named The Gee-Cee’s – Billie helped supplement the family income by working in a neighbourhood bank.

The disappointment was short lived. In 1961 Glen recorded “Turn Around, Look At Me” for a small label and this led to a contract with Capitol Records. Although he didn’t read music, he also found that his instrumental talent was in great demand and that there was a sizeable income to be had as a session musician.

The path to regular recording work had opened up; true fame was only a few years away.

The songs on this album:-

The album commences, naturally, with Jimmy Webb‘s “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” – one of the great love songs of the sixties – and continues with other notable titles from the decade’s best known writers.

There’s Paul Simon‘s “Homeward Bound” and John D Loudermilk‘s “I Wanna Live”, while the Ernest Tubb / Johnny Bond composition “Tomorrow Never Comes” and Bill Anderson‘s “Bad Seed” show that Glen Campbell never strayed far from his country roots.

His presentation altered only slightly as his popularity spread far beyond the confines of pure country. Overall this is an album about love and loneliness and Glen displays his mark as a writer with “Back In The Race”, co-written with Vic Dana and now accepted as a country standard.

charity shop purchase @ £2

Leave a Reply