On Vine Street: The Early Songs of Randy Newman

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Many Randy Newman fans are aware that before he began to focus on a solo recording career in the late 1960s, he'd worked as a jobbing songwriter for years, his compositions or co-compositions getting recorded by numerous other artists. Even fairly serious Newman fans, however, might be unaware of just how much such material he penned in his early years. Twenty-six Newman interpretations spanning 1962-1970 are on this superbly annotated compilation, and as much as it digs up -- much of it rare, one cut even previously unreleased -- it's just the tip of the iceberg. Some of the songs, and quite a few of the performers, are fairly well known: Alan Price had a British ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Many Randy Newman fans are aware that before he began to focus on a solo recording career in the late 1960s, he'd worked as a jobbing songwriter for years, his compositions or co-compositions getting recorded by numerous other artists. Even fairly serious Newman fans, however, might be unaware of just how much such material he penned in his early years. Twenty-six Newman interpretations spanning 1962-1970 are on this superbly annotated compilation, and as much as it digs up -- much of it rare, one cut even previously unreleased -- it's just the tip of the iceberg. Some of the songs, and quite a few of the performers, are fairly well known: Alan Price had a British hit with "Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear" in 1967; Cilla Black had a U.K. Top 20 single with "I've Been Wrong Before" in 1965; Gene Pitney went all the way to number two in Britain with "Nobody Needs Your Love" in 1966; Nilsson's "So Long Dad" is from his well-regarded 1970 Nilsson Sings Newman album; and Eric Burdon & the Animals' "Mama Told Me Not to Come" is the original 1967 version of a classic later recorded by Newman himself and made into a hit by Three Dog Night. There's also "Old Kentucky Home," from the Beau Brummels' 1967 album Triangle, and Dusty Springfield's reliably fine version of "I Think It's Going to Rain Today." It might astound even collectors, however, to see just how many notable artists recorded Newman tunes in the '60s, including the O'Jays, Irma Thomas, Erma Franklin, Gene McDaniels, Frankie Laine, the Fleetwoods, Jackie DeShannon, Scott Walker, Van Dyke Parks, Rick Nelson, Fats Domino...the list goes on. Also thrown in are some generally worthy obscurities, like "Happy New Year" by Beverley, who later became known as John Martyn's wife and musical partner, and Vic Dana's "Looking for Me," which sounds like a West Side Story outtake. Newman scholars will find this interesting for strong hints of his later fusions of Tin Pan Alley, R&B, and various strains of Americana in his more mature solo work. General fans of '60s rock, however, will find this surprisingly interesting and pleasing evidence that Randy Newman was adept at far more conventional music than what he'd become famous for under his own name, crafting quite catchy, if somewhat erratic, material with a much stronger pop
ock and soul bent than in his later work. It's true that those familiar with this phase of Newman's career will find some favorites of theirs omitted. The decision to not feature more than one track by any one performer also limits the scope of the set, as some of the artists, such as Price and Nilsson, recorded quite a few notable Newman covers. Also, the existence of more than one decent version of specific songs, and the compilers' decision to choose no more than one version of any one tune, leads to some tough calls; Gene Pitney's version of "Just One Smile" is certainly more notable than the one included here (by the Tokens), for instance, though the Tokens were the first to put the song on 45. On the whole, however, Ace does an excellent job of representing the wide scope of both Newman's early songwriting and the performers who interpreted those compositions, without compromising the general level of musical quality. The obvious solution to the dilemmas in narrowing this body of work down to one disc would be to present several more volumes of such material -- a series that both Newman and fans of this important songwriter would richly deserve.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/1/2008
  • Label: Ace Records Uk
  • UPC: 029667032629
  • Catalog Number: 1186
  • Sales rank: 165,460

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 The Biggest Night of Her Life (2:27)
  2. 2 Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear (1:50)
  3. 3 Mama Told Me Not to Come (2:13)
  4. 4 Have You Seen My Baby (3:49)
  5. 5 Old Kentucky Home (2:07)
  6. 6 So Long Dad - Harry Nilsson (2:31)
  7. 7 Love Story (2:59)
  8. 8 Vine Street (3:42)
  9. 9 I'll Be Home (3:02)
  10. 10 I Think It's Going to Rain Today (3:16)
  11. 11 I Don't Want to Hear It Anymore (3:48)
  12. 12 I've Been Wrong Before (2:11)
  13. 13 Take Me Away (2:51)
  14. 14 Happy New Year (2:13)
  15. 15 Baby, Don't Look Down (2:30)
  16. 16 Friday Night - The O'Jays (2:34)
  17. 17 Big Brother (2:46)
  18. 18 Nobody Needs Your Love (2:20)
  19. 19 Just One Smile (2:37)
  20. 20 I Can't Remember Ever Loving You - Tammy Grimes (2:23)
  21. 21 While the City Sleeps (2:39)
  22. 22 Take Her (2:03)
  23. 23 Love Is Blind (2:55)
  24. 24 Smoebody's Waiting (2:09)
  25. 25 Looking for Me (2:21)
  26. 26 They Tell Me It's Summer (2:29)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Sammy Lowe Conductor
Peter Knight Singers Conductor
Technical Credits
Randy Newman Arranger, Composer, Horn Arrangements
Gene Pitney Producer
David Axelrod Producer
Terry Melcher Producer
Jack Nitzsche Arranger, Producer
Gene Page Arranger
George Martin Producer
John Boylan Producer, Arrangement Transcription
Philip Chapman Memorabilia
Denny Cordell Producer
Tommy "Snuff" Garrett Producer
Dick Glasser Producer
Hank Levine Arranger
Richard Perry Producer
Ivor Raymonde Director, Producer
Bob Reisdorff Producer
Garry Sherman Arranger
Sal Valentino Arranger
Lenny Waronker Producer
Tony Rounce Memorabilia
John Franz Producer
Trevor Churchill Memorabilia
Sammy Lowe Arranger
Duncan Cowell Mastering
Mick Patrick Liner Notes, Memorabilia
Rob Hughes Memorabilia
Neil Dell Memorabilia
Stephen Paley Producer
Eddie Ray Producer
Peter Knight Singers Arranger
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