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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Masterpiece, 12 Oct 2003
By 
J. Skade "joeskade" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sail Away (Expanded & Remastered) (Audio CD)
Newman's third studio album and his third great album (the live album having proved a little disappointing), this is one of the best of his collections for the beginner. Gone are the baroque orchestrations of his debut and the stripped down rawness of '12 Songs' - instead we have a collection of great songs, simply but sensitively arranged. And these songs are easily as good as his earlier ones, in fact many have claimed the title song as his greatest, whilst Newman himself has a special regard for 'God's Song'.
'Sail Away' opens the album and once again, Newman is speaking through another unsavoury character, this time a slave trader attempting to lure unsuspecting africans aboard his boat with visions of an America where 'every man is free'. The melody is stunning, set over a lovely piano phrase and decorated with gentle strings the song is as biting a satire as has been written about modern America, it is focussed and restrained. It is art, if there is such a thing.
The rest of the collection is very strong, and many of the songs are less obviously dark than those from the first two albums. The protagonist of 'You Can Leave Your Hat On' may be kinky and a little sad, but he is not as truly scary as the singer of 'Suzanne' who is a stalker and perhaps a rapist. 'Dayton,Ohio - 1903' is a lilting piece of goldenage nostalgia and 'Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear' is a far from fierce satire on class. 'Lonely At The Top', written for Sinatra gains a whole new level of irony when Newman sings it, but it remains a jaunty but gentle joke.
'Political Science' on the other hand is the sick vision of a rightwing buffoon (which periodically makes it sound like the policy of certain administrations) determined to 'drop the big one' on all ungrateful foreigners. It is very funny and is the kind of song that wins over listeners immediately, when some other songs take a little longer to sink in. I sometimes think the joke is a little easy - but hey, it's great.
Two other songs demand to be mentioned. 'Old man' another of Newman's all-time greats is a cruel unsentimental look at death couched in one of his most gorgeous melodies. It's that art thing again. 'God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)' is a truly wonderful unauthorised version of religion. A brave song to have written, it made a fitting close to the original album.
This CD however provides 5 extra tracks - an early version of 'Sail Away', simpler with a more urgent piano part; an equally early stab at 'Dayton Ohio - 1903'; a demo of 'You Can Leave Your Hat On' with piano only and a fine studio version of 'Maybe I'm Doing It Wrong', previously only available on the live album on which Newman bemoans his lack of success as a songwriter - 'I shouldn't be thinkin' at all'. The other bonus track is an unfeasably cheerful 'Let It Shine'which hardly sounds like Newman at all.
There you have it. A very special album.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Randy Newman album gets the reissue it deserves, 13 Jun 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Sail Away (Expanded & Remastered) (Audio CD)
Full marks to Warners and the ever-reliable Rhino for remastering and repackaging Sail Away and the equally essential Good Old Boys. Here are two classic albums from one of the most uniquely gifted of all songwriters and performers.
Sail Away is a good place to start for the uninitiated, including as it does, God's Song (still regarded by Newman as one of his finest songs), the Muppet-endorsed Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear, and familiar tracks like Mama Told me Not To Come and You Can Leave Your Hat On. These are unfortunately probably better known as performed by other acts, but Tom Jones can't beat Newman's sleazy take on the latter track. Alongside these, we are treated to the evocative title track, the sublime and all too brief Dayton, Ohio and the bitingly satirical Political Science.
Remastered and repackaged with terrific liner notes (including a superb introduction from Newman himself), photos and bonus tracks, this seriously is the one album that every home should have... well, okay, you really need Good Old Boys as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone knows this is a masterpiece, 10 April 2013
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This review is from: Sail Away (Expanded & Remastered) (Audio CD)
... and they're right. The extra stuff is good, but I find myself stopping at the end off the disc as Newman put it out, and listening to the extra stuff separately.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Politically incorrect and proud of it, 30 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Sail Away (Expanded & Remastered) (Audio CD)
The title track of this magnificent album shows just why you should never mess with a great writer's work. The song seems to start as a call to "come to America, it's wonderful, over here", addressed to a far off people in need of a bit of R&R.

Only when the line "Climb aboard little w*g, sail away with me" crops up, does the perspective shift. This serious song is about a serious subject - the slave trade, not some fanciful holiday of a lifetime to another country.

Any cover version of the song which omits the "offending" word is betraying the author's intention.

"Some jokes are meant to kill." John Lahr, speaking about Bill Hicks
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Album, 18 Oct 2010
By 
Mr. M Errington "Chelonist" (Hereford UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sail Away (Expanded & Remastered) (Audio CD)
This is a great collection of songs from a master song-smith. From the sneakily heartrending 'Sail Away to the downright creepy 'You can keep your hat on' via 'Simon Smith and the amazing dancing bear'. Not sure that the added tracks add all that much, but at any price this is a great album.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 6 Sep 2014
By 
Sj Brooke "bigggSteve" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sail Away (Expanded & Remastered) (Audio CD)
excellent!! cheers
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Sail Away (Expanded & Remastered)
Sail Away (Expanded & Remastered) by Randy Newman (Audio CD - 2002)
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