The Distinguished Professor of History at the University of New Mexico, Paul Andrew Hutton is also True West’s Historical Consultant.
Best Unexpected Western Album:
Jimmy Webb is my favorite songwriter of all time (or at least my lifetime). This is hardly an exclusive club, since his incredible partnerships with Glen Campbell, the 5th Dimenson and Richard Harris among others led to a string of hits that helped define the Baby Boomer generation—“Wichita Lineman,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Galveston,” “Up, Up and Away,” “MacArthur Park,” “Didn’t We,” “The Worst that Could Happen,” “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress,” “Highwayman” and on and on—not to mention “Where’s the Playground Susie” released by Glen Campbell the very month in 1969 that my girlfriend Susie dumped me.
So I was delighted to discover Webb’s latest album, Just Across the River, with his marvelous recording of “Cowboy Hall of Fame,” which he first wrote back in 1985. Webb, born and raised in Elk City, Oklahoma (not far from the Washita battlefield), celebrates all things cowboy in this marvelous anthem to the Western Spirit.