Guessing Games

When I saw Lambchop last spring, they finished their set with an odd cover choice: “Guess I’m Dumb,” originally written by Brian Wilson and performed by Glenn Campbell in 1965.  Before Campbell hit it big (big enough to receive a tribute performance at the 2012 Grammies) with some country pop hits later in the 60s — “Gentle On My Mind” and “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” in 1967 and 1968 respectively — he played guitar for numerous artists.  When Brian Wilson decided to stop touring and focus on composing increasingly complex pop in the studio, Campbell went on the road as the fifth Beach Boy in Wilson’s place for a little while.  (As seen in the photo on the left, Campbell has the clean cut look of the early Beach Boys down pat.)  “Guess I’m Dumb” has a strong Pet Sounds feel to it, with pristine production and a heavy dose of strings and horns.  Similar to the Beach Boys’ “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times,” which contains the lyric “They say I got brains but they ain’t doing me no good/ I wish they could,” the Campbell track has plenty of sweet self-deprecation voiced in a high register.  I haven’t found a recording of the Lambchop cover anywhere, though I remember it being pretty during their show.

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