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Various On Vine Street - The Early Songs Of Randy Newman

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(ACE Records) 26 tracks 1962-67 with 20 page booklet. Nilsson sings Newman - as do Van Dyke... more

Various: On Vine Street - The Early Songs Of Randy Newman

(ACE Records) 26 tracks 1962-67 with 20 page booklet.

Nilsson sings Newman - as do Van Dyke Parks, Irma Thomas, Jackie DeShannon, Gene Pitney, Harpers Bizzare, Rick Nelson, Fats Domino, Alan Price, The Fleetwoods, Gene McDaniels and other short and tall people

When his composition If I Didn’t Have You scooped the Academy Award for best song at the 2002 Oscars (following 16 previous nominations), Randy Newman was probably as well-regarded for his soundtracks as for the string of acerbic and intelligent albums he has written, performed and arranged from the late 60s up to the present day. And why not? His work for Pixar (A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc and the Toy Story films), while catering to a very different audience, can certainly stand alongside gems from his back catalogue like Sail Away, Rednecks, Short People and Louisiana 1927. However, back in the mid-60s, he was still learning his trade as a staff songwriter at Metric Music (also home to David Gates and Jackie DeShannon), and it’s from this era in his career that much of Ace’s wonderful new collection of Newman-penned compositions is sourced. “On Vine Street”, the latest in Ace’s Producers and Songwriters series, collects together timeless pop classics, in-demand rarities and obscurities – including previously unreleased recordings – forming the first ever disc to document this early period in Randy’s career.

Although born in Los Angeles, Newman spent many of his formative years in the Southern States, and while the music of Mississippi and Louisiana would have a huge influence on his later recordings, this collection displays a songwriter in love with the sound of the Brill Building, albeit one also informed by the music that must have permeated his environment from an early age: the soundtracks composed by his uncles Emil, Lionel and Alfred Newman. 

The compilation is cleverly sequenced in reverse-chronological order, kicking off in 1967 with two prime examples of his “in character” songwriting style, Harpers Bizarre’s The Biggest Night Of Her Life and Alan Price’s take on Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear. It’s this song which Newman often quotes as the one which fundamentally changed his method of composition: the point at which he realized that the composer could write at one remove from the subject, which is the technique that dominated his post-67 recordings. Prior to this “Eureka!” moment, Newman had yet find his own compositional voice, although songs like I’ve Been Wrong Before (included here in its Cilla Black incarnation), Nobody Needs Your Love (as performed by Gene Pitney) and I Don’t Want To Hear It Anymore (Scott Walker) – while showing a talent still in development – are also the work of a writer already steeped in “classic” songwriting technique, brimming over with tension and invention. 

The disc also collects definitive performances by Harry Nilsson (So Long Dad, featuring Randy at the piano), Van Dyke Parks’ carousel-ride arrangement of Vine Street, an aching interpretation of I Think It’s Going To Rain Today from Dusty Springfield and Beverley Martyn’s urgent take on Happy New Year, together with plenty of obscurities from Newman’s early years, many making their debut on CD. And the “lets-go-back-in-time” sequencing enables the listener to peel back the layers of Randy’s influences to reveal some sort of emotional core, concluding as it does in 1962 with the pure pop innocence of the Fleetwoods’ They Tell Me It’s Summer. Beautifully mastered and impeccably annotated, it’s an essential purchase for Newman fans and aficionados of Brill Building-era pop. 

BY HARVEY WILLIAMS

Article properties: Various: On Vine Street - The Early Songs Of Randy Newman

  • Interpret: Various

  • Album titlle: On Vine Street - The Early Songs Of Randy Newman

  • Genre Pop

  • Year of publication 2008
  • Label Ace Records

  • Artikelart CD

  • EAN: 0029667032629

  • weight in Kg 0.1
Various - On Vine Street - The Early Songs Of Randy Newman CD 1
01 The Biggest Night Of Her Life HARPERS BIZARRE
02 Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear PRICE SET, Alan
03 Mama Told Me Not To Come BURDON, Eric & ANIMALS
04 Have You Seen My Baby DOMINO, Fats
05 Old Kentucky Home BEAU BRUMMELS
06 So Long Dad NILSSON
07 Love Story NELSON, Rick
08 Vine Street PARKS, Van Dyke
09 I'll Be Home ELLISON, Lorraine
10 I Think It's Going To Rain Today SPRINGFIELD, Dusty
11 I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore WALKER, Scott
12 I've Been Wrong Before BLACK, Cilla
13 Take Me Away DeSHANNON, Jackie
14 Happy New Year BEVERLEY
15 Baby, Don't Look Down STORM, Billy
16 Friday Night O'JAYS
17 Big Brother GRAYSON, Calvin
18 Nobody Needs Your Love PITNEY, Gene
19 Just One Smile TOKENS
20 I Can't Remember Ever Loving You GRIMES, Tammy
21 While The City Sleeps THOMAS, Irma
22 Take Her LAINE, Frankie
23 Love Is Blind FRANKLIN, Erma
24 Somebody's Waiting McDANIELS, Gene
25 Looking For Me DANA, Vic
26 They Tell Me It's Summer FLEETWOODS
Various Artists Different artists/interpreters on a CD, Vinyl LP, 7ich Singe... Either as a... more
"Various"

Various Artists

Different artists/interpreters on a CD, Vinyl LP, 7ich Singe...
Either as a theme compilation or as Greates Hits, Best of..., Singles Collections etc.

 

Various Artist on Bear Family

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