Entertainment Weekly - 11/29/96, p.93
"...there's no denying the quality of the songs, making this a serviceable introduction for beginners until some smart label finally compiles the all-star Webb tribute album we (and he) deserves." - Rating: B
Personnel: Jimmy Webb (vocals, piano, Hammond B-3 organ); Fred Mollin (acoustic guitar, autoharp, background vocals); Steve Smith (pedal steel guitar); Dean Parks (guitar); Oliver Schroer (fiddle); David Hetherington, Donald Green, Audrey King, Paul Widner (cello); Lesley Young (oboe); Steve MacKinnon (accordion); Pat Perez (soprano saxophone); Marc Cohn, Matt McCauley, Susan Webb, Shawn Colvin, Michael McDonald (background vocals).
Engineers: Jeff Wolpert, Brian Nevin, Glen Marchese, Bill Harwell.
Recorded at McClear Pathe Studios and Zoomar Studios, Toronto, Canada; The Hit Factory, New York, New York; The Production Block, Austin, Texas. Includes liner notes by Jimmy Webb.
Personnel: Jimmy Webb (vocals, piano, keyboards); Dean Parks (guitar); Fred Mollin (acoustic guitar, autoharp, background vocals); Oliver Schroer (fiddle); Audrey King, Paul Widner, David Hetherington (cello); Steven MacKinnon (accordion); Lesley Young (oboe); Pat Perez (soprano saxophone); Marc Cohn, Matthew McCauley, Michael McDonald , Shawn Colvin, Susan Webb (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Jeff Wolpert.
Liner Note Author: Jimmy Webb .
Recording information: Hit Factory, N.Y.C., NY; McClear Path Studios, Toronto, Canada; Zoomar Studios, Toronto, Canada.
Photographer: Carolyn Jones.
Unknown Contributor Role: Jimmy Webb .
Listening to Jimmy Webb sing his most well-known compositions, all of which entered the pop pantheon by way of other voices (the Fifth Dimension, Glen Campbell, et. al.), is like hearing a poet read his own work. One is overwhelmed by a sense of rightness, that this is the way these songs were meant to be sung. While the considerable charms of the original recordings (Art Garfunkel's gorgeous reading of "All I Know," Glen Campbell's workmanlike approach to the transcendent "Wichita Lineman") are undeniable, these sparse, piano-based versions have a stark nobility that pares the songs down to their bare bones. It is to Webb's credit as a pop craftsman that his songs stand up so well in this context.
Subtle vocal assists from Shawn Colvin on "Didn't We" and Marc Cohn on "If These Walls Could Speak" add a touch of color to the proceedings. Even the baroque excesses of "MacArthur Park" are redeemed by Webb's tasteful approach, in a version that easily rivals Richard Harris' '60s chart fluke and Donna Summer's disco version. TEN EASY PIECES reads like a career resume for one of pop's finest songsmiths.