Wichita Lineman, Continued
:: Mendes' Lineman ::
:: Dudley's Lineman ::
Back in October of last year, we posted 3 versions of the venerable classic, "Wichita Lineman." A reader commented that there are many versions of this song out there, which got me actually going out of my way to look for them. They're not easy to find. There's always the hope, when you look at a pop record from the late 60s / early 70s that it might be included, but rarely does it turn up. The fact that it's not an easy song to sing or arrange might have something to do with it. I imagine many artists passed on it when it was offered, for one thing because it was hard to top the hit version, recorded by Glen Campbell in 1968. Oh man, I love that version. I remember listening to the radio in late '68, hoping to hear one of the new Beatles' songs from the White Album, and getting Wichita at regular intervals. I became addicted.
As our anonymous reader noted, Sergio Mendes' version is killer, and it begs the question: Is this the only version recorded by a female vocalist (and thus sung in the 3rd person)? I hope so. Dave Dudley's version was a happily accidental find. I was trying to suck up as many Dudley records as possible, being totally into his baritone delivery. By the late 60s, Dudley had graduated from trucker anthems to patriotic preemptive swipes in reaction to the anti-war sentiment of the day. Lineman served as filler on one of his albums from that period. Yay.
Don't worry, I'm still on the lookout for more of these and hopefully we'll have more Wichita Linemen on the Robot in the future. In the mean time, please bask in the glory of one of Jimmy Webbs' greatest triumphs once again.