Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Appreciating the caustic wit of Randy Newman

In the first of two very different November 28th birthday tributes, I offer a tip of the hat to singer, songwriter, and film score composer Randy Newman. I've always appreciated the biting sarcasm of Mr. Newman's lyrics, and his 1972 album "Sail Away" ranks among my all-time favorites.

I've referenced two songs from the record in previous posts (see Praying for rain and other idol pursuits and Let's drop the big one now), and below I present a video clip of his live performance of the title track. It's a typically twisted narrative take on a glossed over view of the legacy of American slavery.

Having spent his formative years in the two LA's (Los Angeles and Louisiana), Mr. Newman definitely has a unique perspective on our national identity. It's a compelling contradiction of love-hate that openly embraces small town generosity while pushing away the bigotry and closed mindedness.

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