Harps and Angels

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Randy Newman always came across as an old crank even when he was an angry young man, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that he's flourishing as an old curmudgeon. Flourishing might seem to be an odd word to apply to an artist whose output slowed to a trickle after the release of 1988's Land of Dreams, but 1999's Bad Love found him reconnecting to his core strengths and its 2008 sequel, Harps and Angels, is its equal -- a lean, uncluttered, viciously funny collection of rolling New Orleans shuffles, movie musical moments, and the occasional tender love song. In many ways, Harps and Angels is a continuation of Bad Love, as it has a similar stripped-down ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Randy Newman always came across as an old crank even when he was an angry young man, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that he's flourishing as an old curmudgeon. Flourishing might seem to be an odd word to apply to an artist whose output slowed to a trickle after the release of 1988's Land of Dreams, but 1999's Bad Love found him reconnecting to his core strengths and its 2008 sequel, Harps and Angels, is its equal -- a lean, uncluttered, viciously funny collection of rolling New Orleans shuffles, movie musical moments, and the occasional tender love song. In many ways, Harps and Angels is a continuation of Bad Love, as it has a similar stripped-down production and many of the same lyrical themes, as Newman still is singing about America and aging, just as he was almost a decade earlier. This isn't stasis, this is consistency, as Newman has always relied on his misanthropic wit just as he's always relied on his love for Fats Domino and old Hollywood scores, and this familiar musical bed helps the new wrinkles stand out, whether it's the symphonic stabs that punctuate the near-death experience on the title track or using Jackson Browne as a punch line on "A Piece of the Pie." While its unadorned sound could be seen as a throwback to the early '70s -- especially with rollicking numbers like "Only a Girl" and "Potholes" recalling how 12 Songs could skip lightly -- Harps and Angels is quite explicitly an album of its time, as Newman confronts the age of George W. Bush directly with the merciless "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country" and "A Piece of the Pie," where he points out if you're "living in the richest country in the world/Wouldn't you think you'd have a better life?" In this context, Newman's heavy reliance on loping New Orleans rhythms almost seems like a defiant expression of solidarity with the Crescent City in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, but that's probably reading a little bit too much into it, as these bluesy shuffles are Newman's greatest comfort zone, the place where his slurred singing sounds just right and where his sardonic jokes richly resonate. It's his signature sound and Harps and Angels captures it sublimely, as the production -- a co-credit to Newman's longtime associate Lenny Waronker and his latter-day producer Mitchell Froom -- has no fancy accoutrements and he's written another set of quietly wonderful songs, ranging from the brutal satire of "Korean Parents" to the gentle, lovely "Feels Like Home." These days he may take his time writing songs, but when he delivers two albums as excellent as Bad Love and Harps and Angels back to back, it's hard to call it anything besides flourishing.
The Associated Press
1/2 While [Newman] has ranked for decades among America's best songwriters, he raises the bar still higher with these 10 songs.
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  • Laugh and Be Happy
    Laugh and Be Happy  

Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/5/2008
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • UPC: 075597998931
  • Catalog Number: 122812
  • Sales rank: 131,352

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Randy Newman Primary Artist, Piano, Conductor, Vocals
Bruce Fowler Trombone
Marty Krystall Clarinet
Frank Marocco Accordion
Richard Todd Horn
William Booth Trombone
Jacqueline Brand Violin
Carmen Carter Background Vocals
Greg Cohen Bass, Bass Guitar
Brian Dembow Viola
Joel Derouin Violin
Stephen Erdody Cello
Christine Ermacoff Cello
Alan Estes Percussion
Daniel Fornero Trumpet
Mitchell Froom Keyboards
Dan Higgins Saxophone
Greg Huckins Saxophone
Luana Jackman Background Vocals
Dennis Karmazyn Cello
Roland Kato Viola
Armen Ksadjikian Cello
Greg Leisz Pedal Steel Guitar, Slide Guitar
Bill Liston Saxophone
Warren Luening Trumpet
Edward Meares Bass
Helen Nightengale Violin
Katia Popov Violin
Anatoly Rosinsky Violin
Geri Rotella Flute
David Shostac Flute
George Thatcher Trombone
Pete Thomas Drums
Doug Tornquist Tuba
Cecilia Tsan Cello
James Walker Flute
Oren Waters Background Vocals
Roger Wilkie Violin
Terry Wood Background Vocals
Steve Donnelly Guitar
Brian Scanlon Saxophone
Andrew Shulman Cello
Tom Boyd Oboe
Drew Dembowski Bass
Susan Ranney Bass
William Frank "Bill" Reichenbach Jr. Trombone
Natalie Leggett Violin
Gary Bovyer Clarinet
Rafael Rishik Violin
Leslie Reed Oboe
Darrin McCann Viola
Sara Parkins Violin
Antony Cooke Cello
Robert Berg Viola
Steven Gordon Viola
Irina Voloshina Violin
Eun Mee Ahn Violin
Tim Morrison Trumpet
Michael Valerio Bass
Thomas Dienner Viola
Sarah Thornblade Violin
Lisa M. Sutton Violin
Gregory Goodall Percussion
Dave Walther Viola
Shanti Randall Viola
Alyssa Park Violin
Norda Mullen Flute
Allison Allport Harp
Donald Foster Clarinet
Judith Farmer Bassoon
Tereza Stanislav Violin
Malcolm McNab Trumpet
Fletcher Sheridan Background Vocals
Mark Adams Horn
Gary Foster Saxophone
Steve Jackson Background Vocals
Rich Logan Background Vocals
Tim Davis Background Vocals
Victoria Miskolczy Viola
Michael Nowak Viola
James Thatcher Horn
Kenneth Munday Bassoon
Marc Sazer Violin
David H. Speltz Cello
Jon Lewis Trumpet
Michael O'Donovan Bassoon
Kevin Connolly Violin
Technical Credits
Randy Newman Arranger, Composer, Orchestral Arrangements
Mitchell Froom Producer, Audio Production
Robert Hurwitz Executive Producer
Luana Jackman Vocal Conductor
Bob Ludwig Mastering
Lenny Waronker Producer, Audio Production
David Boucher Engineer
Ronen Givony Editorial Coordinator
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2012

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    Posted November 5, 2010

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