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

The first of a three-part series in which we talk at length to the producer of Glen’s final album.

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Glen Campbell Adios

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 2017 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.

“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.”

Jackson tells uDiscover Music: “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.

Glen Campbell Carl Jackson

Carl Jackson playing with Glen Campbell in 1975

“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.”

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.

“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 talks to uDiscover about her contributions to the album; in Part 3, we 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.

Purchase Adiós here.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Nichol Carlin

    June 13, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    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. Peter Tucker

    June 14, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Absolutely beautiful. glen’s voice is gorgeous as is the arrangement. A real triumph.

  3. Joy Yearwood

    June 14, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Adios Mr, Campbell!!! Will always love you 🙂

  4. Nancy Kay Sullivan

    June 14, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    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.

  5. Margaret mc nally

    June 14, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    What a great artist glen campbell is best wishes to him

  6. M j Lloyd

    June 14, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    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 .

  7. Lyn Evans

    June 14, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    Glen Campbell, your a genius, all my life I’ve loved your voice and your music ,so sad that you will record no more,forever a legend in Wales!

  8. Wendy Taylor

    August 22, 2017 at 7:51 am

    I first heard Glens Wichita Linesman when I was in my teens and instantly loved his voice,I just bought Adios and I’m in my sixties,so I have loved his music for many years,I will treasure this CD it is a heartfelt farewell to all his loyal fans.I recently lost my lovely Dad to the same dreadful disease so I have an idea what Glen and his Family went through.Thanks for many years of listening pleasure Glen R.i.P.

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