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Songbook, Volume I CD

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (29 Sept. 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B0000AKNEM
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,806 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

NEWMAN RANDY

Amazon.co.uk

Randy Newman began his career as a misanthropic satirist and thwarted romantic. It's this version of Newman who shows up for Songbook Vol 1, despite his now being best known as the curly haired Prince of Pixar (he's written hit songs for a number of animated blockbusters, including Toy Story 2 and A Bug's Life). Songbook Vol 1 revisits 18 of his compositions, most written in the 1960s or 1970s, and all stripped down to just voice and piano. The idea is borrowed from vintage tributes to the masters, the "songbooks" of Jerome Kern or Cole Porter. In Newman's case, it's hard to imagine anyone else singing a slave-trader's smooth sales pitch ("Sail Away"), a deity's bemused take on mankind ("God's Song") or a child-murderer's creepy meditation ("In Germany Before the War").

Stripped of rock backbeats or orchestral sweetening, Newman's songs reveal their stark beauty and classic craftsmanship even more keenly. What may be most remarkable, however, is how prescient some of the songs seem now ("Lonely at the Top" predates the rise of OK magazine and a revolving cast of whining superstars) and how timely some of its humour is. "Political Science" may have been written during the Vietnam War, but its clueless narrator ("No one likes us, I don't know why / We may not be perfect but heaven knows we try") sounds a lot like a Bush Jr cabinet member. Since the early 1980s, Newman has focused the lion's share of his attention on soundtrack scores and sly but cuddly buddy songs. Songbook Vol 1 makes one wish Newman would devote more of his energies to writing new songs as topical, vibrant and biting as his old ones. --Keith Moerer

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
He's back....stripped down to piano and voice...as trenchant,poignant,mordantly funny,relevant and bitingly intelligent as ever.
Without the use of a superfluous word or note, he paints in perfect little miniatures a portrait of a land peopled by its quota of misfits, bigots and damaged goods.
The sheer power of his intellect strips away the veneer and probes his country's psyche with a surgeon's skill.
He has prowled his constituency for nigh on 40 years and this album (the first of 3 promised songbooks) reflects Newman at his best, beautifully played and performed. A treasure chest of his finest work.
In this world of banal junk pop, it is wonderful to see an artist with something to say, saying it at the height of his powers.
Roll on Volumes 2 and 3.
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Having bought "Guilty" -the definitive Randy Newman collection -I didn't think I'd be interested in further recordings of already familiar songs. But I was happy to be proved wrong with this CD. If anything, Newman's earthy growl of a voice seems even more suited to his songs with age; and the new recordings of these wonderful songs with just him playing piano are excellent. In the pared down atmosphere of just piano and voice, you can appreciate the talent of the man - superb songwriter and pianist, some of these songs could only be sung by him. Enjoy also some of his film music - "When She Loved Me" from Toy Story 2 is simply a lovely song -the only fault here is the shortness of the track. Newman fans will already know and love this material, for new listeners, a treat lies in store. One of America's finest craftsmen of pithy, biting songs displayed here on top form.
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Format: Audio CD
I treasure my copy of Jimmy Webb's "Ten Easy Pieces," because the album showcases the songwriter delivering the songs as they should be both in tone and emotion. Step forward Randy Newman, with "Songbook Vol I."
The format is the same, a brilliant wordsmith visiting his back catalogue with breathtaking performances. Anyone who has heard or owned the original album versions will be totally blown away
with this older and wiser collection. New listeners will be able to bask in poetry and music from a great talent. Mr Newman has indeed done the inpossible by surpassing his own benchmarks for the art of the singer-songwriter. Buy this album without hesitation and you will be entertained by a genius.
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Format: Audio CD
If You LIke Wry On The Rocks, Randy's Your Man, October 14, 2006

"Most of my songs aren't autobiographical, or I'd be in an institution," Mr. Newman said after he had played half a dozen of them, getting an appreciative laugh. The audience was fully aware that his music enacts a tug of war between honesty and fallacy, and that his tone can oscillate from steeply ironic to disarmingly sincere." New York Times

Every once in awhile, you come across an artist that speaks to you, personally, intellectually, intuitively and gracefully. Someone you think, "I would love to have a conversation with, and what a great friend he would be." That person for me is Randy Newman. My best friend re-introduced me to him. We had the pleasure of seeing him in concert at Carnegie Hall, recently. Randy Newman walked on stage and it was his; his and the piano. He sat down and the evening became him. The songs are his and he speaks to us, and he brings us into the music. The Randy Newman Songbook, Vol.1 has taken awhile and as he says "Interviewers will ask why it took me five years to make an album and I'll say, `It didn't take five years -- I didn't do anything for five years,I watched tv like you do."

"It's Lonely at the Top", starts the CD and he is more reflective and mature. On this evening, Barbra Streisand was playing at "The Garden", and Randy had played this song to her. "She may be singing it this evening he mused." We all recognize his satire in "God's Song" - in which the Gods has contempt for all faiths. "Political Science" is even more to the point as it was in the Vietnam era, with its US view of the rest of the world. He may still be playing a devil in "Sail Away", and "Rednecks" which speaks about Lester Maddock and the wonderful self deprecating" It's Money That I Love".
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have recently bought this volume of Randy Newman's works, along with Volume 1.

It really is 'at home with Randy', just Randy and a piano, the way that, for me, his songs sound best.

Well recorded. Great.

Terry Meadowcroft
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Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
I misunderstood what this album was for a few years. As a Randy Newman fan I already have most of the songs on this album so I didn't buy it, but one day I accidentally discovered that it was basically an 'unplugged' album with just Randy and a Piano.

It's brilliant. The songs are given a new dimension and when they are stripped of studio production and supporting instrumentation they sound wonderful. For purists of the art of songwriting and for anyone who has seen/ would like to see Randy's live stage-show where he's on his own. Thoroughly recommended
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