Randy Newman – 12 Songs

ARTIST: Randy Newman RandyNewman12Songs

TITLE:  12 Songs

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Yellow Man

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Mama Told Me Not to Come

LINEUP: Randy Newman, Clarence White, Ron Elliott, Ry Cooder, Lyle Ritz, Gene Parsons, Jim Gordon, Al McKibbon, Roy Harte, Milt Holland

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Newman, already known as a songwriter, records 12 of his songs (hence the title) in a more modern setting than his first album. It succeeds and gains him a smart new audience.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Now, you know Newman for his incessant Pixar and Disney movie themes that are easily parodied. However, this album made him quite the figure among smart in-the-know people who appreciated a good sardonic tune or dozen.

The backing lacks all of the strings and pomp that graced his work earlier. It’s arranged simply – some songs have a country feel (especially when White is on board with his great stringbender guitar), others just a simple piano. Yet it’s the songs that hit.

The targets may seem easy now, the reliance on oil, men who are nincompoops, rural America, racisim; then they were on the cutting edge. This is Newman on the cusp of being the 70’s most important satiric songwriter.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Three Dog Night made “Mama Told Me Not to Come” a hit, but Newman’s version has more bite.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-: I found the arrangements good, but on some songs I wanted a fuller sound. Still, the songwriting is killer.

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