Part of this story is true, part is an embellishment. As I was telling jokes today, someone reacted contrarily to my contention that Glen Campbell was a member of the Messianic Judaism sect, something I learned about him when I was going back through his music a couple of years ago.
(One of my jokes I sometimes tell is this: “Did you know Glen Campbell has a brother who is a comic? His name is Grin Campbell.”) It’s okay to groan for reasons other than who occupies the White House.
As I was growing up, I had a viral aversion to country music. My Uncle Buck, who had been immersed in the country music scene, told me more than once that I should have followed guitar and bass to music, rather than orchestral instruments. As I’ve aged, I acquired a taste for a huge variety of music, including a lot of country music. It’s true I’m just as likely to listen to Japanese Yodeling as any other genre. I used to loathe “Rhinestone Cowboy” like it was an assault on my eardrums. That turned out to be the case with a great deal of music, as I associated it with the drunken brutality of several of my family members.
My favorite Glen Campbell memory was the time I recorded a duet with him in Topeka, Kansas. He had been invited to do a couple of cover tunes. That’s how we ended up recording “Rhinestein Cowboy” for the Jewish Musical Alliance.
PS: For those who like actual facts, Glen didn’t write and also wasn’t the first person to record “Rhinestone Cowboy.”
When you listen to it, you are supposed to imagine that I’m frolicking around in an attempt to rob a bank and/or break into a safe. The musical ups and downs are meant to represent stairs. The various bumps are for imagining me bobbing and weaving, peering over obstacles, etc.
The above version is warm pad, with a soft orchestral feel.
The second version is just basic piano.
With the death of Prince today, I dusted off my own variation of one my favorite melodies I re-wrote and adapted from “Gold.” It always resonated with me. Much of what Prince wrote and sang didn’t touch me – but for those songs and melodies which did, his creativity and singular approach to music was indelible.
In another life, I was almost a musician. Many people don’t know that about me – and that’s cool. Just as with words and language, music echoes in my head, inextricably tied to language.
I never finished my version of “Gold,” just as he will never finish his to-do list.
I am posting this portion only because none of us will ever be finished with the creative things that push us to do the things we do. Prince died before he could get all of his list done, but his life was bookmarked with who and what he loved. And he was lucky enough to be rewarded for doing what he loved doing. All of us could be so lucky, even if we drop dead in the middle of a normal day.
Music can’t change the world but, man, does it ever make it better.
PS: “Starfish and Coffee” was my favorite. If only all of us could be so weird and quirky. If you have even one Cynthia Rose in your life, embrace her and you will be embracing Prince and his legacy.
“What’s the use of money if you ain’t gonna break the mold?” Prince