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Thunderclap Newman: Randy, Poet Laureate of New Orleans

Chris Bourke, Real Groove, July 1994

I'VE ALWAYS WONDERED what Southerners think of Randy Newman's Good Old Boys, his 1974 concept album about the American Deep South. With its sardonic but sympathetic portraits of rednecks and freaks, misanthropes and melancholics, it's no tourist brochure but it is full of heart and exquisite melodies, none more so than 'Louisiana 1927', about the devastating Mississippi flood of that year. The song gently suggests that the disaster may be some kind of natural retribution for unnamed sins: "What has happened down here is the wind have changed ..."

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