They're trying to wash us away

I always disliked Randy Newman, having only heard "I Love L.A" and such; had chalked him up to be just another Hollywood jingleoid songwriter. To a great extent, he is that. But he's also a masterful lyricist of an acrid intelligence and a black sense of humor.

I remembered reading an Elvis Costello interview in which he said that on his first album, "My Aim is True", he had basically done a Randy Newman imitation, so i got curious and downloaded "Guilty", a 2 cd greatest hits comp, and this is where I first heard songs like "Rednecks" and "Louisiana 1927". The former, sung in the voice of a racist southerner cliche, the latter to resurface as a premonitory foreshadowing of the tragic mess that was Katrina.

I don't usually go for concept albums, but in this case, like with Terry Allen, I make an exception.

"That's what I wanted-- I think my goal wasn't to get rich and famous, necessarily, though I cared about that. I always thought, "Oh, this could be a hit," or "that will sell records." But the first thing I wanted was that people who knew a lot about music, or had taste-making qualities, they would like my stuff. Writers, people like that. And I kind of got it, and realized, I want more! [laughs] It's always gratifying to me when someone like Elvis Costello mentions me, someone whose work I admire." (from PITCHFORK)

1. "Rednecks"
2. "Birmingham"
3. "Marie"
4. "Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man)"
5. "Guilty"
6. "Louisiana 1927"
7. "Every Man a King" (Huey P. Long, Castro Carazo)
8. "Kingfish"
9. "Naked Man"
10. "Wedding in Cherokee County"
11. "Back on My Feet Again"
12. "Rollin'"

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