1968: Randy Newman
Rated as: Album
Album Status: for Completists
Specific Genre: Baroque Pop, Orchestral Pop
Main Genre: Pop
Undertones: Singer-Songwriter, Piano Pop
Side A: 1. Love Story (You and Me) 2. Bet No One Ever Hurt This Bad 3. Living Without You 4. So Long Dad 5. I Think He’s Hiding 6. Linda
Side B: 7. Laughing Boy 8. Cowboy 9. The Beehive State 10. I Think It’s Going to Rain Today 11. Davy the Fat Boy
Find a clown and grind him down
Newman certainly starts out sub-par as a recording artist, fixated on lyrics and inconspicuous song structures. But it’s 1968, and idiosyncratic, self-respecting songwriters trying to make it need string sections, so they said – Herb Alpert, Lee Hazlewood and Harry Newman led the way. The record sounds as if someone found Newman’s vocal-and-piano tracks he made as demos for other artists to record – and overdubbed them with a studio orchestra.
Newman never had a big voice (and it would silly to fault him for this), but at this stage also didn’t have a weathered performer-persona yet to back up the overblown arrangements and broadway-delivery some of these songs were made for. He frankly sounds lost in the mostly symphonic environment here. Jumping from lazy piano blues („I Think He’s Hiding“) to tango structures to pretty silly sounding baroque singer-songwriter pop, this is not the debut album Newman was meant to make. But he did, not to our embarrassment, but our slight inconvenience.