Song of the Day #5,209: ‘Dig a Little Deeper’ – Jennifer Lewis and The Pinnacle Gospel Choir

Randy Newman has written a lot of songs for a lot of Disney movies. He’s received eight Academy Award nominations for his Disney songs alone, winning twice (for ‘If I Didn’t Have You’ from Monsters Inc. and ‘We Belong Together’ from Toy Story 3).

All of that work is excellent, but for my money the best Randy Newman soundtrack for a Disney film belongs to 2009’s The Princess and the Frog. That’s because the content is a perfect match for Newman’s New Orleans jazz-influenced style.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,480: ‘When We’re Human (feat. Terence Blanchard)’ – Randy Newman

You don’t hear songs from The Princess and the Frog in those Disney “greatest moments” medleys. The dominant musicals of the hand-drawn era are The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King and Aladdin.

But for my money, Randy Newman’s songs and score for The Princess and the Frog are as sublime as any of those classics.

That’s because the film gave Newman the opportunity to fully mine his beloved New Orleans jazz, with enough crowd-pleasing Disney sheen to make it go down easy for all ages.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #2,349: ‘Down in New Orleans’ – Dr. John

new_orleans_1This week, my family and I are vacationing in The Big Easy, enjoying a little post-Christmas getaway in one of America’s greatest cities.

I haven’t been to New Orleans in nearly two decades, so I’m really looking forward to the trip. And I’m taking a break from blogging this week as well, offering up a few songs about the city during my absence.

See you in a week for my Top 20 Songs of 2014 countdown!

Continue reading

Song of the Day #1,961: ‘Ray Laid Low’ – Randy Newman

princessfrogI’m not certain, but this might be the first time a Random Weekend selection has been an instrumental track.

I guess that isn’t too much of a surprise because I don’t own a whole lot of instrumentals. A few classical CDs and a half dozen or so movie soundtracks, plus the odd instrumental track on albums that otherwise feature vocals.

But still, given some of the odd patterns that have emerged over the Random Weekend years, you’d expect them to come up at least once in awhile.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #1,090: ‘Almost There’ – Anika Noni Rose

Today’s song is from the only non-Pixar film featured this week, and the only non-Pixar animated film Randy Newman has scored for Disney. For its hand-drawn animation, the studio has generally relied on Broadway composer Alan Menken, as well as pop artists such as Elton John and Phil Collins.

The Princess and the Frog was Disney’s first hand-drawn movie since its acquisition of Pixar and the relationship Pixar had with Randy Newman was a perfect fit for this New Orleans-based film.

Continue reading