randy newman

Content tagged as randy newman.

Various: A Tribute to Fats Domino (Tipitina's/Shock)

Various: A Tribute to Fats Domino (Tipitina's/Shock)

In the days after Hurricane Katrina it was believed that this great New Orleans r'n'b singer had been washed away. Fortunately he had been rescued although his home, like much of that wonderful city, had suffered extreme damage. The interesting thing about the rumours of his death was the sudden recognition of his talent in the wider...

Ray Davies: Working Man's Cafe (V2/Shock)

Ray Davies: Working Man's Cafe (V2/Shock)

Ray Davies -- formerly of the Kinks (see tag to an Essential Elsewhere Kinks album) -- has had a busy time of it lately: in late 2003 the great English songwriter (of Englishness) was awarded an OBE, a week later he was shot in the leg in New Orleans, his Other People's Lives solo album in 2006 was much praised (it also comes with insightful...

Willie Nelson: Moment of Forever (Lost Highway)

Willie Nelson: Moment of Forever (Lost Highway)

Whether he's singing sentimental songs (like the Kristofferson-penned title track here), evoking some kind of outlaw mentality or harking back to history (his take on Randy Newman's Louisiana here lightly updated to make it more relevant post-Katrina) there is still something magical about Willie's vocals. He slides behind a beat to give a...

Joe Jackson: Rain (Ryko/Elite)

Joe Jackson: Rain (Ryko/Elite)

By the end of the first, somewhat leaden track Invisible Man, even longtime fans might be gulping hard. But things take off after that clunker (which is much better live as the DVD which comes with early copies of this album shows). Jackson's desperate sounding vocals and his exceptional piano playing get a long overdue showcase on this pared...

Wayne Mason and the Fallen Angels: Sense Got Out (Ode)

Wayne Mason and the Fallen Angels: Sense Got Out (Ode)

Singer-songwriter Wayne Mason may be best (and in some circles only) known as the guy who wrote the Kiwi classic Nature for the Fourmyula (later covered by the Mutton Birds). But that was almost four decades ago and he has spent the intervening period crafting equally excellent material for the Warratahs (until '94), and now delivers them on...

Marianne Faithfull: Easy Come Easy Go (Naive)

Marianne Faithfull: Easy Come Easy Go (Naive)

The cracked and distinctive vocals of Faithfull have, as with Leonard Cohen, a devoted following -- and this double album which sounds typically whisky'n'smoke-cured is perhaps for longtime loyalists. Helmed by producer and musical conceptualist Hal Willner (who did, among other fascinating albums, the Charles Mingus tribute Weird Nightmare),...

Jesse Harris: Watching the Sky (Inertia)

Jesse Harris: Watching the Sky (Inertia)

The news that Norah Jones has co-written a song with with Ryan Adams for her forthcoming album The Fall (due in November) is interesting: will he move in her direction or she to him? And which her, or which him? Many of the other tracks are Jones' own work (no bad thing) or with longtime partner Jesse Harris who here delivers up a polished,...

Jimmy Webb and the Webb Brothers: Cottonwood Farm (Proper/Southbound)

Jimmy Webb and the Webb Brothers: Cottonwood Farm (Proper/Southbound)

Anyone who has followed the career of the great songwriter Jimmy Webb (interviewed at Elsewhere here) will attest to two things: he crafts memorable material (all those hits for Glen Campbell, the gorgeous minimalism of The Moon's A Harsh Mistress made famous by Joe Cocker, the baroque McArthur Park) and he ain't much of a singer. Like...

Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Deluxe Edition (Universal CD/DVD)

Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Deluxe Edition (Universal CD/DVD)

Elton is like a kindly old uncle these days, giving big ups to Ryan Adams, throwing post-Oscar parties, behaving himself, turning up on Disney soundtracks, or rewriting one of his prettiest tunes for the funeral of a slightly wacky royal. And he got married (again, to a man this time though).  It's hard to remember that he was,...

Elton John: The Captain and the Kid (Mercury)

Elton John: The Captain and the Kid (Mercury)

By an odd coincidence I recently bought a battered vinyl copy of Elton John’s autobiographical 75 album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. For some reason it had gone right past me and when I looked at the track listing it was hardly full of hit singles or even FM radio fodder. The only title I recognised was Someone Saved My...

Peter Gabriel: Scratch My Back (EMI)

Peter Gabriel: Scratch My Back (EMI)

An album where an artist covers the material of others is hardly a new concept, but you can guess that Peter Gabriel -- the ever sensitive quality controller, with his first album in eight years -- brings something special to the table. Here he is on songs by those of his generation such as David Bowie (Heroes), Paul Simon (Boy in the...

Youn Sun Nah: Same Girl (ACT/Southbound)

Youn Sun Nah: Same Girl (ACT/Southbound)

This sophisticated Korea-born singer who has long been based in Europe -- this is her seventh album, but only the second for Germany's ACT Music -- grew up with parents who were classical musicians, and that might explain some of the assured poise she brings to her delivery of ballads. But before she arrived in Paris in the mid Nineties...

Neil Diamond: Dreams (Sony)

Neil Diamond: Dreams (Sony)

After trying for the same late-career revival as Johnny Cash with producer Rick Rubin - to lesser commercial and critical success -- Diamond now delivers the album he has said he's always wanted to do: a collection of covers, including his own early song I'm A Believer made famously a hit by the Monkees. Diamond is a man who always seems to...

Elton John and Leon Russell: The Union (Mercury)

Elton John and Leon Russell: The Union (Mercury)

The story of how much Elton has admired Leon Russell for many decades (and who was a profound influence on his playing in the early Seventies) is well known, as is how Russell's star fell slowly from that peak when he was helming Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour, then appearing with George Harrison, Dylan and others at the concert for...

HARRY NILSSON PROFILED. The fire this time

HARRY NILSSON PROFILED. The fire this time

The too-short life of the greatly under-appreciated singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson (1941-94) was full of bitter ironies: not the least was that this gifted songwriter's biggest hits were written by others. His memorable Without You was penned by Pete Ham and Tom Evans from the Beatles-blessed power poppers, Badfinger; and although...

JOE COCKER INTERVIEWED (2010): The school and sound of hard knocks

JOE COCKER INTERVIEWED (2010): The school and sound of hard knocks

It's a trick question, but see how you go: Who's the odd one out in this list; Hannah Montana, Britney Spears, Joe Cocker or Justin Bieber? The answer is, of course . . . the Bieber boy. He's the only one who hasn't had a song written for him by former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi. But the real question is, what is 66-year...

Joe Cocker: Hard Knocks (Sony)

Joe Cocker: Hard Knocks (Sony)

Cocker at 66 is candid enough to say that the idea behind this album was to get him on radio because -- good though his last one Hymn For My Soul was -- it didn't sell as expected. That meant bringing in another producer (Matt Serletic who had done good work for Collective Soul and Matchbox 20), getting the word out for radio-friendly...

Leon Russell: Sweet Mystery (1979)

Leon Russell: Sweet Mystery (1979)

Careers rise and fall all the time in popular culture, but few with the perfect arc of Leon Russell's. In the mid Sixties he was an anonymous session pianist playing on albums by Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys, Herb Alpert and Gary Lewis and the Playboys, five years later he had two Beatles (George Harrison, Ringo), three Stones (Mick, Bill...

DENNIS LECORRIERE INTERVIEWED (2003): Is there a Doctor in the house?

DENNIS LECORRIERE INTERVIEWED (2003): Is there a Doctor in the house?

Dennis Locorriere spends most of the hour laughing and is more amused than irritated that many people mistake him for someone else. Locorriere - with slight streaks of silver at his temples and celebrating his 54th birthday on this day - is the voice of Dr Hook. But he wasn't the face of that Seventies hit-making machine which cluttered...

Richard Harris: A Tramp Shining (1968)

Richard Harris: A Tramp Shining (1968)

Because there is a such a lot of great music about these days -- and of such overwhelming diversity -- you'd sound like you were wallowing in nostalgia if you suggested things were better in the old days. But in one way they were. Look at the singles charts. Once upon a time you got magnificent oddities being played on rapid rotate...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Paul Simon: So Beautiful Or So What (Hear Music)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Paul Simon: So Beautiful Or So What (Hear Music)

One of the things Paul Simon is seldom given credit for is his sense of humor. He too often comes off the kind of earnest New York Jewish singer-songwriter you imagine reads Dostoevsky at night but listens to doo-wop and old soul because he thinks it might be good for him. Yet this is the man who did that clip for You Can Call Me Al with...

RAY CHARLES 1954-1960: A soul brother movin' on

RAY CHARLES 1954-1960: A soul brother movin' on

The word "genius" was used so often about Ray Charles that people probably ceased to believe it in this age where a minor sports figure is referred to as "an icon" and "awesome" has long since lost any meaning at all. But Charles was a genius -- "The only genius in our business," said Frank Sinatra --...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Glen Campbell: Ghost on the Canvas (Inertia)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Glen Campbell: Ghost on the Canvas (Inertia)

Alongside his Alzheimer's diagnosis and a farewell tour comes this self-announced “final studio album” by the 75-year old legend whose career spans from LA session guitar work in the late 50s as one of the famous Wrecking Crew on Phil Spector productions, to being a touring Beach Boy, solo hits with Jimmy Webb songs and movies...

RANDY NEWMAN INTERVIEWED: What's the Buzz? (1999)

RANDY NEWMAN INTERVIEWED: What's the Buzz? (1999)

Randy Newman is a problem in popular culture, a man misplaced into the rock textbooks simply because there's nowhere else to put him. He's part of rock culture by association (his albums are reviewed in rock magazines) but more correctly he's an ironic, acerbic songwriter who has populated his songs with an extraordinary collection of bigots,...

PAUL SIMON; GRACELAND, AGAIN (2012): We can all be received . . .

PAUL SIMON; GRACELAND, AGAIN (2012): We can all be received . . .

Hard to believe from this distance of some 25 years, but Paul Simon's award-winning and much loved Graceland album of 1986 – which went on to sell around 15 million copies – was once a flashpoint for protest and rage. Strange, when you listen to magical songs like the buoyant title track which shimmers over mercury smooth...

Baton Rouge, Louisiana: The Kingfish in his kingdom

Baton Rouge, Louisiana: The Kingfish in his kingdom

The bullet holes from the shoot-out are still there. It's a narrow corridor so you can imagine what the gunplay must have been like: shots echoing around, one man falling from his wounds and the other shot dead, the shouting and clack of heels resonating off the marble floor . . . Today of course all is quiet, just a few people getting in...

HENRY WAGONS INTERVIEWED (2104): The write stuff

HENRY WAGONS INTERVIEWED (2104): The write stuff

Even in a country with a long lineage of great songwriters, Henry Wagons stands out. As the writer and frontman for his band Wagons, Henry from Melbourne – born Henry Krips and the grandson of the Australian conductor of the same name credited with bring Mahler to Australian audiences – is a physically energetic entertainer who...

Harry Nilsson, Nilsson Schmilsson (1971)

Harry Nilsson, Nilsson Schmilsson (1971)

The too-short life of the greatly under-appreciated singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson (1941-94) was full of bitter ironies: not the least was that this gifted songwriter's biggest hits were written by others. His memorable Without You was penned by Pete Ham and Tom Evans from the Beatles-blessed power poppers, Badfinger; and although...

THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST DVD REVIEWED (2007)

THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST DVD REVIEWED (2007)

If you want to capture the essence of the 70s in a word it's "hair". At the start of the decade there were Afros and cascades of curls halfway down backs (that's the men) and the long straight stuff with fringes (the women -- and Noddy Holder from Slade). By mid-decade there were dreadlocks, moustaches and big sideburns...

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