The ‘Adiós’ Interviews, Part 1 of 3: Carl Jackson On Producing Glen Campbell’s Final Album

June 13, 2017

Carl Jackson, the producer of Glen Campbell's 64th and final studio album Adiós, has told uDiscover how he recorded the “labour of love” project with the great American vocalist-guitarist one verse, and often one line, at a time.

The record, released 9 June by UMe, features vocals laid down by Campbell after his diagnosis with Alzheimer's disease and following the completion of his 2011-12 world tour. Jackson, who was the featured banjo player in Glen's band from 1972 (when he was just 18) until 1984, has remained a close family friend ever after. He has spoken of his intense pride at the completion of the album, which features Campbell's sons Cal and Shannon and daughter Ashley.

Adios cover

“I treasure it because it's Glen, and Glen is family, so it means the world to me,” he says, agreeing that making Adiós was a bittersweet experience.  “Absolutely, I think that's a very fair word because, oh my gosh, there's so much love and memories and wonderful things, but there are sad things too. To not be able to really share it with him, or for him to understand it.”

The project had the full backing and involvement of Campbell's family, including Kim, his wife of 34 years, who says in the album's liner notes: “Glen’s abilities to play, sing and remember songs began to rapidly decline after his diagnosis in 2011. A feeling of urgency grew to get him into the studio once again to capture what magic was left. It was now or never.”

Ashley Campbell Carl Jackson

Ashley Campbell and Carl Jackson

Jackson tells uDiscover: “They are a very strong family and I think the way they've handled all this, and the way Glen handled it, is doing so much to help people that are going through the same thing. Glen's life has been prolonged by the way they approached it, it's been handled the best possible way it can be handled. Ashley is a true joy in my life, being my goddaughter. I love her with all my heart, and Kim too. 

“Doing that goodbye tour and doing this last record, after everybody thought that it would be imposslble...and believe me, it was hard. But that is Glen's life, and it extended that life and brought so much joy to people and I hope this does, because I know it did to Glen.”

The record features versions of many songs that Campbell loved and, in many cases, performed live, but had for the most part never recorded before, such as the lead track, Fred Neil's 'Everybody's Talkin'.' Bob Dylan's 'Don't Think Twice, It's All Right' and Willie Nelson's 'Funny (How Time Slips Away).' Also featured are four songs by Glen's longtime collaborator and master songwriter Jimmy Webb, including the title track that poignantly closes the album.

Adiós has a more simplified, traditionally country feel compared to Campbell's run of acclaimed albums of recent years. “I purposely did it that way,” says Jackson. “I wanted it to focus on the fact that in my opinion, Glen Campbell is the greatest singer that we've ever known, period. I know there are varying opinions, I'm sure, but he was like a machine, vocally. I mean, even up to the end there, he was just the greatest.

“When I was travelling with Glen, it was perfection. You can go back and listen to those shows that we filmed in the UK. It sounds like it's been tuned, and it was in front of a live audience, one take. I've never seen anybody with that capability. Not only just loving his voice, but I'm talking technically, also.

“To think you're standing there with a guy who's got Alzheimer's, and he's having to read the lyrics line by line,” adds the producer. “He had to do it that way, and there were some things that were difficult to get. But still there was this incredible tone and ability to sing.”

glen-campbell

Part of the success of Adiós lies in the fact that Campbell himself was familiar with the material, which brings a warmth to the recordings. “These were songs Glen loved to sing,” says Jackson. “When he picked up a guitar, he'd sing a few licks of 'Don't Think Twice, It's All Right' or 'A Thing Called Love.' But it was just something that kind of happened, it wasn't really planned at all. [We were] sitting around talking about these songs, and all of a sudden it was like 'Hey, do you think there's any way we could get some of these down?'

“I cut some tracks, I'd do the vocal and then Glen lived with them for a while,” says his old friend. “He tried to get as familiar with them as someone with that disease can get. Then I took him in and I stood with him on every line, beside him in the studio, and we did it. I mean, Glen did it, but it wasn't just a matter of 'Hey Glen, here's the next song, go in there and sing it,' it could not be done that way.

Glen and Kim Campbell

Glen and Kim Campbell

“There was just so much love in the room between me and Glen and Kim, so much time, so many memories, so much water under the bridge that I truly believe there were things I could get out of Glen that nobody else could get. There's this kinship there, and I hope it shows on the record, because it was felt in the room.”

In Part 2 of The Adiós Interviews, Ashley Campbell will talk to uDiscover about her contributions to the album; in Part 3, we'll hear more from Carl Jackson about the choice of material for the record, and how he came to be chosen to play with Glen as a mere 18-year-old.

Order Adiós, and explore our dedicated Glen Campbell Artist Page.

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7 comments

  1. Nichol Carlin

    Oh so so beautiful!
    Listening intently, I just know Glen is saying ‘adios’ to his Wife Kim, to his loving Family, to Carl, to Jimmy and with a special ‘adios’ to his millions of fans Worldwide.

    My Wife and I saw Glen and Carl perform in London. We shook hands with Glen at the London Palladium stage door and said ‘hi’ to Glen’s Mum and Dad who were sitting in the back seat of the car. We will always cherish those beautiful moments.

    Thank you Glen; God bless you and yours.

    And.. adios.

  2. Nancy Kay Sullivan

    My CD arrived yesterday. What a treasure. I have his London concert on my iPod, and I couldn’t agree more with your statement about the genius in Glen Campbell’s voice. He can sing anything. I’m thankful to know of his faith. He will he whole again. Thank you for this gift of one more memory of a great musician.

  3. M j Lloyd

    Adios… Adios to you cowboy !
    Your memory has left you but i will never forget
    what an enormous influence you have had over my
    58Yrs of love for your craft… And what a craft !!!
    They don’t come much better than you Glen at all +
    Thanks a billion for all you have shared with us.
    Tru grit , Tru talent, Truly magnificent .
    Keep on playin man,
    We are with you .

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