Randy Newman

Good Old Boys (Deluxe Reissue) (Rhino)

In "Good Morning" (the response to "Marie"), she and Johnny fight over breakfast--"Daddy may not spend a lot of time with you," she sings to their children, and Johnny's only response is a snorted "fuck you"--and the result is a grim portrait of a broken home yet to fall completely apart; the only thing keeping it together, it seems, are Newman's wrenching lullabies. The only character more screwed-up than Johnny is his brother, who goes around naked stealing old ladies' purses; it takes a crank to make John look good. But Newman's specialty--before he started writing songs for Disney, that is--has always been rendering the grotesque human and the flawed oddly noble; Johnny Cutlerwould have been his masterpiece. Wait--it is, only now it's just one of the greatest albums never made attached to one of the greatest albums ever made.

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