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Randy Newman - Good Old Boys Click here to see this CD at Amazon.com!

By Sam Sutherland

Randy Newman's 1974 concept album explores the modern contradictions and early-20th-century history of the Deep South with his bracing mix of irony, affection, and empathy for twisted psyches and hungry, venal dreams. What sounds like Southern gothic material is a virtuosic balancing act between light comedy and political broadside, shivering with moments of unexpected pathos: "Birmingham" is a booster anthem, "A Wedding in Cherokee County" a tableau of dysfunctional romance at once grotesque and touching, "Guilty" a probing confession of addiction, and "Louisiana 1927" a Copelandesque tragedy of the ravages of that year's historic flood. Capping it all is his classic, double-edged indictment of racism, "Rednecks," which turns the knife back on smug outsiders blind to their own prejudices. Rhino's 2002 remixed, expanded reissue caps the initial disc with a demo version of the ballad "Maria" and includes a fascinating salvaged-from-the-vaults second disc dubbed "Johnny Cutler's Birthday" (the working title for the project), featuring Newman sketching the finished album through songs and commentary.

Tracks
1. Rednecks14. Rednecks
2. Birmingham15. If We Didn't Have Jesus
3. Marie16. Birmingham
4. Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man)17. The Joke
5. Guilty18. Louisiana
6. Louisiana 192719. My Daddy Knew Dixie Howell
7. Every Man a King20. Shining
8. Kingfish21. Marie
9. Naked Man22. Good Morning
10. A Wedding in Cherokee County23. Birmingham Redux
11. Back On My Feet Again24. Doctor, Doctor
12. Rollin'25. Albanian Anthem
13. Marie (Demo)26. Rolling

 

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MUSICAL NOTES

Artist: Randy Newman

Released: May 6, 1974

Availability: CD, Vinyl

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