Caveman Days.Posted: July 21, 2007
The songwriter Jimmy Webb was on the Steve Dahl radio show in Chicago earlier this week (via telephone), and he spoke of a new live recording. This was good news, but the more significant news confirms what I wrote about in this earlier post and in this one. Namely, that there is no record industry any more. Jimmy Webb—our greatest songwriter linking the tradition of Gershwin, Arlen and Kern with folk, folk-rock and modern-day pop; the writer of “Wichita Lineman,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress,” and so many more modern-day standards–has to put out his music himself, on his own label, or not see it put out at all.
He said that it will also be for sale at his upcoming gigs. He spoke of this deprecatingly, saying, “I’ll be selling it out of the trunk of my car, just like we all used to do in the old days.” It was a funny remark, but it couldn’t conceal the bitter truth that our advanced technology ironically has returned us to a primitive state. It is not only that a mass, national, taste-shaping and needs-catering record business has ceased to exist; it is as if it never existed.