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Sunday, January 9, 2011

297. "Gentle On My Mind" by Glen Campbell

Another song built on the skeleton of a Thunderhill performance this summer... this time the only remnant of the original is Frush's drums and the original 12-string, panned way off to the side and mixed down for a little sugar. Everything else is me, today.

Anyone familiar with this song will notice right away that a lot of words are missing, and may wonder why I did that. Well, I didn't... my dad did, and the song has been that way since very shortly after Glen Campbell's version was released (which seems to have been pretty much at the same time as the very original, by the song's writer John Hartford, came out as well). The story goes that Glen's version was first released in 1967 and bombed, but Dad and the Thunder Hill Singers heard it on a camping trip and decided to record it for their next single. However, the company that pressed their records had a strict running time limit for 45 rpm singles (I've never understood that bit and sort of suspect it was some kind of scam on the part of the pressing plant, but maybe I'm missing something) and the band just couldn't get "Gentle" under the limit. They were faced with a choice of leaving out a verse, or, as they eventually did, dropping a few lines here and there in each verse, which explains what happened to the backroads of my memory and all that jazz. The song was basically unknown at the time, so it went into the live set in the "edited" version; the single was subsequently added to an LP they put out in the '70s, and the arrangement has stayed the same for 43 years now.

When Glen Campbell re-released the single to massive success in 1968, people would offer the band their condolences about how Campbell was getting away with murder by taking their song, adding some words to it, and getting a big hit out of it.

Rich Frush ~ Drums
Rex Broome ~ Everything else

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