Randy Newman Live

Randy Newman

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Randy Newman Live Review

by Mark Deming

Looking like a bootleg and sounding like the radio-promo item it was intended to be, Randy Newman Live is as straightforward as live albums get: a clean but unexceptional recording of Randy Newman alone at his piano, running through nine tunes from his first two albums and five new numbers (three of which would pop up on later studio albums, though the unremarkable "Tickle Me" and "Maybe I'm Doing It Wrong" remain exclusive to this release). At less than 30 minutes, the album is a bit light on material (especially since three shows were recorded for this set), and while Newman's performance is witty and engaging, the studio versions of these songs are preferable, though the solo performance of "Davy the Fat Boy" has a certain stark resonance the original lacks, and his vocals are a good bit stronger than on his first album. Randy Newman Live is OK for completists and fun for rabid fans, but most anyone else would be better served hearing these songs elsewhere.

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