Three tunes from Randy Newsman’s 1983 performance at New York’s Odeon nightclub with Ry Cooder and Linda Ronstadt.

Screenshot: Randy Newman and Ry Cooder

11 January 2023 | James Porteous | Clipper Media News

Randy Newman and Linda Ronstadt

Setlist:

  1. Mama Told Me Not to Come
  2. Let’s Burn Down the Cornfield
  3. Rider in the Rain (with Linda Ronstadt)

Newman and Cooder played together on Newman’s second album, 12 Songs, released in 1970.

Liner notes from the out-of-print DVD of the show:

Randy Newman is best enjoyed in an intimate setting, so this 1983 performance at New York’s Odeon nightclub finds the curmudgeonly Newman in his element.

Whether he’s playing popular favorites like “I Love L.A.” and “Short People” or testing new material for a small, appreciative audience, Newman is a congenial performer whose skill as a composer is perfectly matched to his playful, deep-cutting lyrics and wry, often melancholy vocal style.

It’s no small task to sing edgy, provocative songs like “Rednecks” or the hilariously satirical “Political Science” and still maintain a warm connection to the listener, but Newman does just that, and his hospitality is extended to guest performers Linda Ronstadt and Ry Cooder, who enhance the rich emotions of Newman’s music. 

Woodstock director Michael Lindsay-Hogg captures the relaxed mood of the one-hour set, and despite audible hiss on the 2- and 5.1-channel audio, this recording conveys the essence of Randy Newman at his best. –Jeff Shannon

Musicians on 12 Songs album