Good Old Boys (Randy Newman album)
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|Good Old Boys|
|Studio album / Concept album by Randy Newman|
|Released||10 September 1974|
|Recorded||Warner Bros. Studios in North Hollywood, California|
|Genre||Rock, honky tonk|
|Producer||Lenny Waronker, Russ Titelman|
|Randy Newman chronology|
Good Old Boys is the fifth album by Randy Newman, released in September 1974 on Reprise Records, catalogue number 2193. It peaked at #36 on the Billboard 200, Newman's first album to obtain major commercial success. The premiere live performance of the album took place on October 5, 1974, at the Symphony Hall in Atlanta, Georgia, with guest Ry Cooder and Newman conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
Initially envisioned as a concept album about a character named Johnny Cutler, an everyman of the Deep South, a demo of which was recorded by Newman on February 1, 1973. These 13 songs were subsequently released as the bonus disc for the 2002 reissue, entitled Johnny Cutler's Birthday.
The kernel of this concept survived into the released album, although as Newman's take on viewpoints from the inhabitants of the Deep South in general, rather than from a single individual character. As on his previous release, Newman addressed generally taboo topics such as slavery and racism, most stringently on the opening song "Rednecks," a simultaneous satire on institutional racism in the Deep South and the hypocrisy of the northern states in response.
Newman also incorporates actual historical events into the album, remarking upon the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 on "Louisiana 1927" and a plea to Richard Nixon to alleviate poverty as a result of the recession of the mid-1970s on "Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man)". Preceding an original song ("Kingfish") recounting achievements and slogans of Louisiana politician Huey "The Kingfish" Long, Newman performs with members of the Eagles on a song written by Long himself, "Every Man a King".
As with all of Newman's early albums, some material Newman wrote had been previously recorded by other artists. In this case, "Guilty" had been initially recorded and released by Bonnie Raitt on her 1973 album Takin' My Time.
A lengthy analysis of Good Old Boys, including a detailed description of the Dick Cavett Show broadcast that inspired Rednecks, is included in Steven Hart's essay "He May Be a Fool But He's Our Fool: Lester Maddox, Randy Newman, and the American Culture Wars," included in the collection Let the Devil Speak: Articles, Essays, and Incitements.
In 2014, Turntable Publishing released the ebook, "Song of the South: Randy Newman's Good Old Boys," by David Kastin, a full-length critical study of the album's sources, evolution, and reception. In the Sixth Edition of his classic "Mystery Train," Greil Marcus cited Kastin's book as an "effectively-illustrated...excavation of the entire severed corpus of the work and a deep dive into the history - musical, social economic, sectional, and water-born - Newman both drew from and recast."
On the same day as the album, the track "Guilty" was released as Reprise single 1324, with "Naked Man" on the B-side, and on January 29, 1975, the track "Louisiana 1927" was released as Reprise single 1387, with "Marie" on the flip. Neither single appeared on the Billboard Hot 100.
Robert Christgau gave the album an A rating upon release, and both the 1992 edition of the Rolling Stone Album Guide and AllMusic gave it a five-star rating. In 2003, the album was ranked number 393 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It spent two weeks in the Top 40 of the Billboard 200 in late 1974, with an overall 21-week tenure. It also earned a gold record in the Netherlands.
On May 21, 2002, an expanded edition of the album was issued by Rhino Records on compact disc, including a bonus track demo of "Marie" and a second disc containing the February, 1973 demos entitled Johnny Cutler's Birthday. Included in these demo recordings are Newman's verbal descriptions of sound effects and other characters, the songs as a whole describing a narrative in the vein of integrated musicals dating from the 1940s. "Doctor, Doctor" is an early version of "Back on My Feet Again". The song "Marie" was used in the family film "Paulie" in 1998.
All tracks written by Randy Newman except where noted.
|4.||"Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man)"||2:45|
|7.||"Every Man a King" (Huey Long, Castro Carazo)||1:02|
|10.||"Wedding in Cherokee County"||3:07|
|11.||"Back on My Feet Again"||3:30|
- Randy Newman - arranger, conductor, acoustic and electric pianos, synthesizer, vocals
- Ry Cooder - bottleneck guitar on "Back on My Feet Again"
- John Platania - electric guitar
- Ron Elliott - acoustic guitar
- Dennis Budimir - acoustic guitar
- Al Perkins - pedal steel guitar
- Russ Titelman - bass
- Willie Weeks - bass
- Red Callender - bass
- Jim Keltner - drums
- Andy Newmark - drums
- Bobbye Hall Porter - percussion
- Milt Holland - drums, percussion
- Glenn Frey - background vocals
- Don Henley - background vocals
- Bernie Leadon - background vocals
- Mark Deming. "Good Old Boys - Randy Newman | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- Cook-Wilson, Winston (October 16, 2016). "Randy Newman: Good Old Boys". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
- "CG: randy newman". Robert Christgau. 1995-10-31. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- Davis, Stephen (1997-01-21). "Good Old Boys". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-08-29.