Monday, November 6, 2017

Randy Newman: Compare & Contrast

Behold Randy Newman's excellent track, "Last Night I Had A Dream," from his classic collection of tunes, "Sail Away." I imagine most have heard it before. It's a typically exciting Newman arrangement, utilizing the best guys in business, like Chris Ethridge, Jim Keltner, Ry Cooder, Earl Palmer.

But how about the single version below? This version goes against everything Randy Newman stands for. In a recent interview with Newman, he talks about writing for an orchestra and shying away from electric instruments because even using a drummer "feels like cheating." Well, this 1968 version, sounding more like The Electric Prunes meet The Beatles in "Revolution" mode, is a cheating mutha***ka!

(h/t Sal Maida)


buzzbabyjesus said...

Wow, that's fun. Single version sounds like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers doing a "Dukes Of Stratosphear".

Bill said...

Heavy! Is that Ry on guitar, or someone else?


How cool!

buzzbabyjesus said...

It's hard to say who the guitar is. Ry didn't play on his 1968 debut. 11 guitar players including Herb Ellis, James Burton, and Tommy Tedesco are listed in wikipedia as personnel.
Carol Kaye's presence indicates The Wrecking Crew
His second, "12 Songs", features Clarence White, with Ry on slide. Ron Elliott plays rhythm.

Anonymous said...

Sirius recently added a channel, Volume, that is primarily "chat".
While out for a drive the other day the host was interviewing Randy.
His stories about Short People, it being a part of his legacy, the responses gave me a few laughs while sitting glued to my drivers seat.
I recently picked up one of his masterpieces a few months back - Good Old Boys.

Randy and John Prine,too me, have always been the keenest observers of our time.


ps - I do not know but both should be awarded the Mark Twain award for their continuations to the American experience.

tinpot said...

I'm a HUGE Randy fan, but had no idea this existed. And I love it! (Didn't expect to after your intro).
Always found that song rather plodding, a bit of a drag that even a "typically exciting Newman arrangement" could not bring to life. But even Randy seems enthused by this version. Not sure it would bear repeated listenings though.

Sal Nunziato said...

"Typically exciting..."

I guess the word "exciting" was a poor choice. I like the arrangement of the album version because it doesn't just settle in. I don't find it plodding, but I can see how it isn't exactly exciting.

J. Loslo said...

I've known this song for over forty years, but I'd never heard the single version before. I much prefer the album version. The instrumentation on the single shows either a lack of faith in, or a disregard for, the lyrics. In my opinion.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like Randy was trying out whether the rock and roll sound worked for him. My guess is this was one of his earliest recording sessions so as a new recording artist one needs to find their comfort zone.

Clearly he didn’t. The one time I fell he succeeded as an all out rock and roller was his cover version of “Long Dead Train “.

Captain Al

Anonymous said...

Boom! Buzz hits it with Dukes & Petty. Thanks Sal! I love this version. Andy

binkerbo said...

Amazing...I like it!

robgronotte said...

Cool listen, had never heard that. I think even more interesting is that this single version was released 3-4 years BEFORE the album.

A walk in the woods said...

Crazy cool. Why the heck couldn't he have put that out on the "Guilty: 30 Years Of Randy Newman" box set from 1998?? I hope he's not embarrassed of it or something (which explains why certain cool rarities didn't appear on the Citizen Dan Steely Dan box set) because it rocks and is a fascinating side note to Randy's "normal" career.