Song of the Day #3,281: ‘Lucinda’ – Randy Newman vs. The Rolling Stones

Here’s a nice meaty Round Two Montauk Madness matchup, pitting one of the greatest singer-songwriters against one of the greatest rock bands.

Randy Newman got here by defeating Adele with 90% of the vote in Round One, while The Stones took out Toad the Wet Sprocket in a unanimous vote. Pretty easy pickings for both of them.

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Song of the Day #2,818: ‘Old Kentucky Home’ – Randy Newman

12_songsFamous music critic Robert Christgau called Randy Newman’s 12 Songs “a perfect album,” and I can’t disagree. That’s why it was an easy pick as my best album of 1970.

I consider this record and Newman’s follow-up, 1972’s Sail Away, his very best albums and that makes them two of my very favorite albums of all-time. This one is as simple a distillation of Newman’s songwriting as you can imagine. Nothing fancy, just a brilliant lyricist and musician spinning tales both acidic and sweet.

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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).

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Song of the Day #1,418: ‘Mama Told Me Not to Come’ – Randy Newman

Best Albums of the 70s – #13
12 Songs – Randy Newman (1970)

Randy Newman has released just 10 studio albums over the past 44 years, and half of those were produced in the 70s. In subsequent decades he turned his attention to film scores (with 20 Oscar nominations to show for it) while putting out a brilliant, acerbic record every seven or eight years.

But his most lasting work comes from his most prolific decade as a singer-songwriter. And 12 Songs, his second album, is a resonant, understated glimpse of his genius at work.

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Song of the Day #1,053: ‘Suzanne’ – Randy Newman

I’m starting up week two of my Randy Newman theme, and for those of you joining us at the midway point, this is where I showcase Newman’s dark side. I spent last week on the more sensitive and romantic songs, demonstrating exactly how effective the man is at playing it straight. But now comes the fun stuff.

Representing Randy Newman’s sophomore album, 12 Songs in week one was ‘Rosemary,’ a jaunty serenade. Today’s featured track takes another woman’s name as its title but creates a very different mood.

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Song of the Day #1,046: ‘Rosemary’ – Randy Newman

Of the artists I hold most dear, Randy Newman has gotten the least exposure on the blog to date. I’ve featured only three of his songs over the past few years.

I plan to remedy that over the next two weeks.

Initially I planned to do a traditional 5-day theme week on Newman, but in combing through his albums I was struck by how well he conveys such disparate moods and emotions. Deeply felt, earnest love songs sit next to scathing, cynical diatribes and it’s all quintessentially Randy Newman.

So I’ve decided to showcase that range by presenting one week of sensitive Newman followed by a week of acerbic Newman.

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