Dennis Brown – Wichita Lineman

This is my contribution to Song Lyric Sunday for Jim Adams’s blog. This week’s prompt…North/South/East/West

The single was released on January 1, 1971. This may be one of the best covers ever recorded. It is stripped down and not polished like Glen Campbell’s original version.

From Songfacts

In a Songfacts interview with Jimmy Webb, he explained how he puts himself into the shoes of the subjects of this songs. Said Webb: “I’ve never worked with high-tension wires or anything like that. My characters were all ordinary guys. They were all blue-collar guys who did ordinary jobs. As Billy Joel likes to say, which is pretty accurate, he said, ‘They’re ordinary people thinking extraordinary thoughts.’ I always appreciated that comment, because I thought it was very close to what I was doing or what I was trying to do. And they came from ordinary towns. They came from places like Galveston and Wichita and places like that.

No, I never worked for the phone company. But then, I’m not a journalist. I’m not Woody Guthrie. I’m a songwriter and I can write about anything I want to. I feel that you should know something about what you’re doing and you should have an image, and I have a very specific image of a guy I saw working up on the wires out in the Oklahoma panhandle one time with a telephone in his hand talking to somebody. And this exquisite aesthetic balance of all these telephone poles just decreasing in size as they got further and further away from the viewer – that being me – and as I passed him, he began to diminish in size. The country is so flat, it was like this one quick snapshot of this guy rigged up on a pole with this telephone in his hand. And this song came about, really, from wondering what that was like, what it would be like to be working up on a telephone pole and what would you be talking about? Was he talking to his girlfriend? Probably just doing one of those checks where they called up and said, ‘Mile marker 46,’ you know. ‘Everything’s working so far.'”

Wichita Lineman

I am a lineman for the county
And I drive the main road
Searchin’ in the sun for another overload
I hear you singin’ in the wire
I can hear you through the whine
And the Wichita lineman is still on the line

I know I need a small vacation
But it don’t look like rain
And if it snows that stretch down south
Won’t ever stand the strain
And I need you more than want you
And I want you for all time
And the Wichita lineman is still on the line

And I need you more than want you
And I want you for all time
And the Wichita lineman is still on the line Writer/s: Jimmy Webb

6 thoughts on “Dennis Brown – Wichita Lineman

  1. I’ve never heard this cover before, but found it very calming. We were able to see Glen Campbell at the end of his career on his final tour (with late stages of Alzheimer’s) when he forgot the lyrics and the entire audience sang as loud as we could to fill in the song for him. He was quite amused that we knew the song. Great song choice today!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s