ARTIST: Randy Newman
TITLE: Randy Newman
YEAR RELEASED: 1968
CHART ACTION: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Bet No One Ever Hurt This Bad, I Think It’s Going to Rain Today, Davy the Fat Boy
LINEUP: Randy Newman, the Wrecking Crew and strings; lots and lots of strings.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Quirky songwriter’s debut goes all baroque, drowning songs in strings and treacly arrangements that distract you from the songs themselves.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Arrangements matter – production matters. This is the lesson I took away from the first Randy Newman album.
Here we have 11 of Newman’s early songs – songs that are much like his other work. Songs he has sold or will sell to other performers. Newman’s early works shine best with spare arrangements. That’s not the case here.
The cuts are drowned in strings and other baroque touches. To my ears, it doesn’t work. The songs, you can tell, are great. But the arrangements and production hinder the enjoyment of the songs.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Allegedly, this album sold so poorly that Warner’s had a promotion that they would exchange it for another Warner’s catalog product. However, since they didn’t drop him, you wonder if that was just hearsay or rumor.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: C+: A full letter grade down for the arrangements.