If Randy Newman’s self-titled 1968 debut on Reprise Records, co-produced by his childhood friend Lenny Waronker and the now equally legendary arranger Van Dyke Parks, seemed out of step with the times upon its release, that’s perhaps because he had created something timeless. Newman combined sophisticated orchestrations and indelible melodies with story-song lyrics that veered between the unabashedly romantic and the sarcastically humorous. A song like “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today,” its simple words harboring heartbreaking emotion, is arguably an American standard, covered by an astonishingly wide range of artists, including Judy Collins, Bobby Darin, Rick Nelson, Nina Simone, and, most recently, Nonesuch label-mate Audra McDonald. (randynewman. com)
F. Schöler in Stereo 1 / 92: "Die erste Studioproduktion von
Meister Lee Herschberg aufgenommen und von Lenny Waronker/
Van Dyke Parks fabelhaft produziert.
ALL MUSIC GUIDE **** "Newman was intent upon taking
cliches and using them to satirize social conventions,
a popular parlor game in the late '60s. Thus, we have
"Love Story", in which the lovers retire to Florida
and pass away. "So Long Dad", in which a son squares
things with his old man, and "Davy the Fat Boy", in
which an affectionate friend exploits the title charac-
ter. But there were also songs like "Living without
You" and "I Think It's Going To Rain Today", which were so
painfully lonely you wished they weren't so sincere.
Taken together, this was an audacious first album by a
major, if extremely quirky, talent."
ROLLING STONE ALBUM GUIDE ***