Song of the Day #2,410: ‘Have You Seen My Baby?’ – Randy Newman

12_songsOf all the great albums in my music collection, Randy Newman’s 12 Songs is one of the most unassuming.

The album has no grand vision. It is simply, as the title suggests, a collection of 12 songs. The instrumentation is pretty bare-bones. Several of these songs had been recorded previously by other artists (today’s SOTD, for example, was released as a Fats Domino track before Newman offered up his own version).

Yet despite those modest trappings, Newman delivered one of the best singer-songwriter albums ever recorded. Every song here is brilliant, and most are subversive and uncomfortable in the best way. Famed critic Robert Christgau reviewed said this in his review of 12 Songs: “In every respect — composition, arrangement, production, performance — this is the finest record of the year.”

That year was 1970. It would be the finest album of most years since.

Have you seen my baby
On the avenue?
You know she’s driving me crazy
With the funny things she do

I seen her with the milkman
Ridin’ down the street
When you’re through with my baby, milkman
Send her home to me

Hold on, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on
You know it’s been so long
Since she have been gone
Hold on, hold on, hold on

I seen her with the gypsies
Dancin’ in the wood
She’s always been unfaithful to me
She ain’t never been no good

Said, “Please don’t talk to strangers, baby”
But she always do
She say, “I’ll talk to strangers if I want to
‘Cause I’m a stranger, too”

Hold on, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on
You know it’s been so long
Since she have been gone
Hold on, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on

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One thought on “Song of the Day #2,410: ‘Have You Seen My Baby?’ – Randy Newman

  1. Dana says:

    Fats Domino, huh? I did not know that.

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