Randy Newman is one of those guys you've heard before, but you just don't know it. Seen Toy Story? Ever caught an episode of Monk? Heard this Three Dog Night song a thousand times?
Guess what? You're listening to Randy Newman. Born in New Orleans, but raised in LA, Randy has a fairly impressive musical pedigree. He can count David, Thomas, and Alfred Newman as relatives, all of whom have IMDB pages long enough to keep you from reading them. The Newmans are a family of composers for film and television, and Randy is no exception. Although, he also releases pop records.

This is his second full length record, and while his self-titled debut was by no means a bad album, this is widely considered his first classic. The big 'hit' of the album is Mama Told Me (Not To Come), covered by many, perhaps most famously by Three Dog Night (see above). Here's the Newman version:

[ mp3 ]: Randy Newman - Mama Told Me (Not To Come)

As you can hear, Newman's delivery on this song (and album!) is pitch perfect. He's got that groovy N'awlins piano backing up his bluesy, almost lazy vocals. Never over-doing it, Newman's smooth, easy going delivery belies the rigid pop structure he adheres to. Check out the lead-off track:

[ mp3 ]: Randy Newman - Have You Seen My Baby?

Again, there's a very clear structure here, with each section licked by a little New Orleans jazz. It's like building a bridge with shrimp po' boys. Which sounds delicious, by the way. I love this record, but I do admit that I kind of group Randy Newman in the same category as Jackson Browne. That category is, "stuff that indicates to me that I've become my father fully because he loved it when he turned this age too." Sure glad my dad has pretty good taste.

This album isn't carried by lala, but I've put together the rest of the songs for you. Please let me know if that works - not sure if everyone can access these. It's definitely worth a listen - the album becomes a lot more atmospheric and slows down towards the end. Like the end of a hot summer night when you fall asleep on the patio and wake up when the sun rises, with the posts of the rocking chair pressed into your back.


1/18/2010 09:45:36 pm

right on. Randy Newman under-appreciated as comic and musical genius.


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