Archive for Randy Newman

Video Du Jour: Randy Newman

Posted in News with tags on September 20, 2012 by 30daysout

Singer/songwriter Randy Newman returns to the smart-ass attitude that made him famous with a new song, “I’m Dreaming.”

It’s a brutal observation on the racial subtext of the current presidential race, and Randy’s lampooning those people who can’t get past the fact that the current U.S. president just happens to be black. You know who you are.

Beyond that, I’m not sure if there is another point he is trying to make but you are welcome to dig in and figure it out for yourself. At the very least, it will be good practice if you plan to vote this November.

You can download this song for free at the Nonesuch Records site

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Randy Newman

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , on September 21, 2010 by 30daysout

Here’s one from my own collection, one that I actually had to special order back in the day because nobody at the record store had heard of the artist!  It’s Good Old Boys, by Randy Newman, from 1974.

Back then I used to read Rolling Stone magazine, and I saw this article about how L.A. “bad boy” Randy Newman was going to put out a record where he confronts the bigots in the South about racism and stuff.   Rolling Stone loved Newman’s previous album, Sail Away (1972), and they had pretty high hopes for the new one.  Of course, by that time I was mainlining the Warner Bros. Loss Leaders samplers and those featured a lot of Randy Newman too.

So I went looking for Good Old Boys – nobody had it, and back then you only had a few places you could go to buy records.  If it wasn’t at the department store or at Ted’s Record Shop in Jefferson City Shopping Center (Port Arthur, Texas), you were out of luck.  But the girl behind the counter at Ted’s wanted to be helpful, so she offered to “Special Order” the album for me.  After I gave her my telephone number and stuff she was kinda curious, and she asked “What does he sing?”  I could only laugh, because I sure as hell couldn’t explain.

About two weeks later, the album arrived but the only format they could get was 8-track.  To this day, I still don’t understand why they couldn’t get me an LP copy – it’s not like Randy Newman sold that many albums back then, or ever.  Anyhow, Good Old Boys was pretty unique even in 1974.  Perhaps the most notorious song of the day was “Rednecks,” inspired after Newman saw Lester Maddox, who was formerly governor of Georgia, interviewed on TV’s “The Dick Cavett Show.”  Maddox was an unapologetic segregationist, and Cavett had him on as a guest so he could expose Maddox’s racist views.  Cavett’s questioning so enraged Maddox that he walked off the show.

“Rednecks” is told from the point of view of a Maddox supporter, and he talks about the “New York Jew” who made fun of his beloved governor (Cavett is not really Jewish, but …).  The narrator wonders why Northerners hate the South, saying “we’re keeping the niggers down.”  But then he points the finger on Northern hypocrisy, citing examples of ghettos in big cities like Boston, New York and Los Angeles, where they were “gatherin’ them up, from miles around/Keepin’ the niggers down.”

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Sampler Daze: WB/Reprise Loss Leaders, Part 9

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2009 by 30daysout

RecordsLikeThis works

If you’ve been with us this long, you already know the Warner Bros./Reprise Loss Leaders series wasn’t about hit records – although the 1970s entries managed to have one or two hit singles on each sampler.  But with the coming of 1975’s I Didn’t Know They Still Made Records Like This, the label rolled out its big guns.  Of the 26 songs included on this two-LP set, six were bonafide Top 20 hits and a few others were FM radio staples.

And another thing about this one – it was aimed squarely at MOR audiences.  Singer/songwriters abound: James Taylor does his No. 5 “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” which was actually an old Motown song; Arlo Guthrie does the No. 18 hit “City Of New Orleans,” which was actually written by Steve Goodman; Gordon Lightfoot offers the No. 26 “Rainy Day People,” which was actually written by Gordon Lightfoot.  Add to that Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” (No. 11), Seals & Croft’s “I’ll Play For You” (No. 18) and the No. 1 smash “Then Came You,” by Dionne Warwick and the Spinners.  “I Can See Clearly Now,” a hit for reggae artist Johnny Nash, pops up here in a version by country singer Rex Allen Jr., the first appearance, I believe, on the Loss Leaders by an artist out of the Nashville stable.

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Sampler Daze: The WB/Reprise Loss Leaders All-Star Team

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2009 by 30daysout

Arlo Guthrie

We take a short break from our exhaustive, year-by-year look at the Warner/Reprise Loss Leaders to cite a few of the artists who appeared throughout this series with great music.  We could call it our Loss Leaders All-Star Team.  Between 1969 and 1980, the label issued 35 samplers that were available to the public, and these artists were perennials.

Arlo Guthrie – Woody’s son made 13 appearances in the Loss Leaders series, appearing on the very first sampler in 1969 with “The Pause Of Mr. Claus,” a performance that features one of his trademark comedic rap/song combinations.  The best known of these is of course “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” the nearly-19-minute-long song that made Guthrie famous in 1967 and is played on hip radio stations every Thanksgiving.  Arlo hit the top 40 in 1972 with his version of Steve Goodman’s “City of New Orleans,” and he cut 14 albums for Warner Bros. before the label dropped him in 1983.

Randy Newman

Randy Newman

Randy Newman – Like Guthrie, Newman was one of those hard-to-market artists but he nevertheless earned a critical following when he first appeared in 1968.  Known for writing satiric songs (often from the point of view of a reprehensible character) with beautiful melodies, Newman actually penned hit songs for other artists (“Mama Told Me Not To Come” was a hit for Three Dog Night) and had a few hits of his own, including “Short People” (1977) and “I Love L.A.” (1983).  Newman is a runner-up to Arlo, with 12 appearances in the Loss Leaders series.

Frank Zappa/The Mothers of Invention – Zappa and/or his band made 11 total appearances in the Loss Leaders, they even gave him his own one-disc sampler in 1970 (Zapped) to showcase all the artists on his Bizarre/Straight labels.

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Review: “Harps And Angels,” Randy Newman

Posted in Review with tags on August 5, 2008 by 30daysout

I have come to the realization that Billy Joel isn’t so bad after all.  And I must thank Randy Newman for helping me to realize that.  Newman’s latest CD, Harps And Angels, is so godawful that it actually made me reconsider the music of the Long Island Piano Man … and comparatively, Mr. Hollywood doesn’t stand a chance.  Now I used to like Randy Newman: loved his 12 Songs, thought “Short People” was amusing, chuckled briefly over “I Love L.A.” and have pretty much ignored everything he’s done since.  Maybe I’ve moved along – and Randy hasn’t.

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Welcome to Hurricane Season

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2008 by 30daysout


The first day of June is the beginning of hurricane season, and once again most of us who live along the Texas Gulf Coast collectively say: “Who the hell cares?”

Oh, we realize this is serious business.  But it’s hard to take it too seriously, especially after the fiasco of Hurricane Rita in 2005.  The storm hit about 125 miles east of Houston but in the days leading up to landfall many residents of the nation’s fourth largest city jammed every highway out of town to create the biggest traffic jam and cluster fuck in this country’s history. 

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