Brian Hiatt
October 03, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Randy Newman Songbook, Vol. 1

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Randy Newman
Producers
Nonesuch

We gave it an A-

Like its creator, who has recorded some of the most bilious, complex songs ever written (plus cartoon-animal love ballads), ”Songbook” is uncategorizable. Neither live CD nor greatest hits, it combines solo piano rerecordings of ’70s Newman masterpieces (”Sail Away”) with soundtrack instrumentals and a couple of his best ’90s tunes. Newman doesn’t top his lavish originals, but the deepened blues of his aged-whiskey croak sear the dust off classics like the all-too-timely ”Political Science.”

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