The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Singles Going Steady #7

Glen Campbell - Guess I'm Dumb (Capitol 5441; 1965)

Although it isn't the rarity it used to be thanks to its appearance on a handful of compilations, Guess I'm Dumb remains an interesting glimpse into what might have been if the connection between Glen Campbell and the Beach Boys had remained intact a little bit longer. Of course Campbell wouldn't have had the career that he did--Guess I'm Dumb was a flop, and it's not too hard to see why--but this Brian Wilson production remains a gorgeous artifact of the musican/songwriter/studio whiz wunderkind at the height of his powers, still hanging on to his ego and faith in the belief that pop music could aspire to greater things.

As an added bonus, here's Campbell performing Guess I'm Dumb on Shindig, two years before he started hitting his stride chart-wise with Gentle on My Mind and By the Time I Get to Phoenix. Can you imagine a major label today letting an act go hitless for so long?


Timmy said...

This is a Roy Orbison sound-alike, ifn's I never heard one.... I saw Glen in concert 10 or so years ago & he was really superb. He did a small Hendrix segment & sounded as good as ever. A true pro. Talented beyond most. Do yourselves a treat, watch the TV special he & Jimmy Webb did together.

swac said...

I'd like to see episodes of his Goodtime Hour series released in some form, if they haven't been already.

I've seen recent concert footage of Campbell, well from 2006, and he sounds terrific. I'd go see him in a heartbeat.

Funny story I heard from John Allan Cameron, who used to tour with Anne Murray: Campbell and Murray were good friends (they did an album of duets in the early '70s) and after one show in the States, Campbell came backstage to say hi. He asked them if they wanted to hear his new record, and they thought he'd play the actual album, but instead he just sat down and sang every song off of it, without stopping. (I gathered from the way he told me the story that Campbell was a bit manic at the time.)

Terrible actor though, I can't watch him in True Grit without wincing.

Frank Black said...

Absolutely superb song. Should've been on The Beach Boys Today.

swac said...

I've heard that, I wonder if a BB vocal take has surfaced on a bootleg? I could see Carl singing this, although the callousness of the lyric may seem a bit out of step with other BB tunes. It's perfect for a blond golden boy like Campbell though.

slogans7 said...

The Wondermints did a nice version a few years ago. Probably as close as you can come to a Beach Boys version.

swac said...

I have that Wondermints track, it's nicely done. They put their own stamp on the arrangement too.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

I guess i'm dumb but I never would have heard this but for The Gunslinger