February 13, 2012 at 11:15 PM by Dr. Drang
A few comments on last night’s Grammy awards ceremony:
Much to my surprise, I liked Paul McCartney’s Valentine song and I thought he did a decent job singing it. One reviewer of his new album (I didn’t save a link) said Paul’s voice isn’t up to challenge of the songs. I don’t have the album, but after hearing “My Valentine,” I have no doubt that’s right. Still, Paul kept within himself and gave a good performance, especially on the last verse.
A good jazz vocalist could turn that song into a great record.
Which would be a clever segue into the Tony Bennett segment but for the fact that I don’t really like Tony Bennett. I know millions adore him, but I’m not one of them. Be that as it may, I thought Carrie Underwood did a horrible job in this duet, and I felt sorry for Bennett when it was over.
First, trying to blow the old man off the stage with vocal strength he can no longer muster was disrespectful. And, putting manners aside, it’s just artistically wrong for one singer to take a belt-it-out approach when the other is being intimate and conversational. (Frankly, even in a solo performance, “It Had To Be You” is more effective when done in a relaxed, informal manner.) I’m surprised both that she didn’t know better and that no one took her aside to explain it to her.
Under the circumstances, I thought Glen Campbell did a fine job. He’s a really talented performer whose catalog is filled with atrocious songs. Sadly, two of the three songs done to honor him, “Southern Nights” and “Rhinestone Cowboy,” were from the from the crappier side of the Campbell songbook. Too bad the producers didn’t choose one of his Jimmy Webb songs. Maybe they couldn’t find anyone brave to try that octave run at the beginning of “Wichita Lineman.”
During the Beach Boys reunion segment earlier in the show, the director had the good sense to briefly cut to Campbell smiling in the audience, a reminder that Glen had played with the Beach Boys on record and on tour. Before becoming a star in his own right, Campbell was a big time LA session guitarist who played on hundreds of songs. He was Waddy Wachtel before there was a Waddy Wachtel.
The show ended with McCartney back on stage to do part of the Abbey Road Side Two medley. Through a TiVo glitch, I missed the beginning of this segment. TiVo must have known something. When I watched the whole thing on YouTube this evening, I cringed. The poor guy just couldn’t handle “Golden Slumbers” and he knew it. Still, he roused himself for “The End” (which is the part TiVo let me see last night), with good guitar work and decent vocals.
Whatever the deficiencies in Paul’s voice, he deserves thanks for giving us two helpings of the always-delightful Joe Walsh.