With a musical and personal friendship that stretches back to the early Sixties when they shared the stage during a tour with Buck Owens and His Buckaroos, Glen Campbell and Willie Nelson have performed together countless times through the years. Their final performance together, on a beautiful light-shuffle version of Nelson’s oft-covered “Funny How Time Slips Away” is a marvelous, albeit heartbreaking, tribute to their enduring love and respect for one another.
Taken from Campbell‘s final studio LP Adiós, which was released today, the tune was first recorded by Billy Walker in 1961 and has also been cut by Elvis Presley, the Supremes, and as a duet for Al Green and Lyle Lovett, Bobby Bland and B.B. King, and by Juice Newton with the song’s writer in 2010. Adiós, produced by Campbell‘s longtime friend Carl Jackson, was their effort to gather several songs Campbell had wanted to record but hadn’t previously. The sessions took place following Campbell‘s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s and the subsequent Goodbye Tour, chronicled in the poignant documentary film, Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me.
“Glen and I have been close such a long, long time,” Jackson told Rolling Stone Country last month. “I stood right beside him on every line, printed out the lyrics in big print. Sometimes we had to do a line at a time because with Alzheimer’s, his memory of the lyrics, as we saw in the tour he had to use teleprompters, that went away pretty quick. But his melodies did not go away for a long time after his ability to remember actual songs. He would even remember what keys he did them in. I can’t explain it.”
Adiós also includes four songs penned by another of Campbell’s longtime compatriots, Jimmy Webb, who penned the title cut and is the writer behind many of the singer’s massive hits, including “Galveston,” “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.”
Campbell is in the final stages of the disease and living in a Nashville memory-care facility. His daughter, musician Ashley Campbell, tells Rolling Stone Country, “He doesn’t really use language much anymore, but we look on the bright side [because] in these late stages of Alzheimer’s, it could be very bad. It could be confusion and anger a lot of the time, which is the case for a lot of people I’ve seen. But for him he’s just happy every day, smiles, he enjoys life and he enjoys being around people – and he loves a good piece of cake.”
Adiós is available now at retail and digital outlets.