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Good Old Boys

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iTunes Review

Randy Newman's Southern concept album opens with a shot of his satiric wit: In "Rednecks," he creates a thoroughly believable character, deflates racism, pokes fun at Georgia governor Lester Maddox, and offends the uptight on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line. Yet the best tracks aren’t funny at all: "Guilty" and "Marie" are both love songs, delivered by admittedly flawed characters. The haunting ballad "Louisiana 1927," about a real-life flood of historic proportions, took on new meaning after Hurricane Katrina.

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"rednecks" is not a celebration of southern ignorance. it points out that the segregation which is pinned on "redneck ignorance" also exists in the ghettos of boston, new york, san francisco, chicago, etc.

Simply put: A masterpiece.

Even if you are not a Randy Newman fan, this album should be heard and savored. It has the richness of music and emotion generally only found in great films or theater productions. Lyrically, Good Old Boys is as satirically sophisticated as any album I’ve ever heard. Newman attacks weighty themes like race relations, social strife, and nothing short of the American Dream with humor, pathos and biting wit. Good Old Boys is equal part Mark Twain and Jonathon Swift … and that’s just the lyrical content. The music is evocative, bluesy, beautiful, down-home, eclectic, folk-y and rock-y. Good Old Boys has so many layers of lyrical and musical richness that is only gets better over time. A triumph.

If you think...

...that "Rednecks" is a critique of the south, you're not trying hard enough. And you probably got offended that Randy fluff you enough at the '08 Keynote. He's far to observant to be put into your box.


Born: November 28, 1943 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

An anomaly among early-'70s singer/songwriters, Randy Newman may have been slightly influenced by Bob Dylan, but his music owed more to New Orleans R&B and traditional pop than folk. Newman developed an idiosyncratic style that alternated between sweeping, cinematic pop and rolling R&B, which were tied together by his nasty sense of humor. Where his peers concentrated on confessional songwriting, Newman drew characters, creating a world filled with misfits, outcasts, charlatans, and con men. Though...
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