The three-CD box set The Randy Newman Songbook comprises the first two volumes in the Songbook series—solo recordings of songs from throughout Newman's five-decade career—plus 16 additional songs from a new third volume, along with five bonus tracks. The Associated Press has said: "Few singer-songwriters could inject more new life into solo piano versions of their work than Randy Newman."
Nonesuch Records released the three-CD box set The Randy Newman Songbook on December 16, 2016. Nonesuch's Randy Newman Songbook series—comprising solo recordings of songs from throughout Newman's five-decade career—previously included two volumes, released on CD in 2003 and 2011. Sixteen additional songs from a newly released third volume, along with five bonus tracks ("Feels Like Home," "A Wedding in Cherokee County," "Family Album: Homage to Alfred, Emil and Lionel Newman," "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country," and "I'm Dreaming"), join those first two volumes to create this new complete Songbook box set. Mitchell Froom produced The Randy Newman Songbook, Vol. 1 (which has been remastered for this box set) and was joined on Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 by Newman's lifelong friend and colleague Lenny Waronker.
The New York Times said of the first volume of The Randy Newman Songbook: "The great craftsmanship is more apparent in the stripped-down context," and the Associated Press said, "Few singer-songwriters could inject more new life into solo piano versions of their work than Randy Newman." The UK's Uncut called Vol. 2 "another subtly sublime stroll through the master's back catalogue," noting that Newman is "owner of a peerless canon," and that the album "isolates his full range of qualities: the improbable juxtapositions of caustic topicality and heart-wrenching universality, the concise character studies, and singing and piano playing that seem to emanate from the very fabric of America."
After starting his songwriting career as a teenager, Newman began recording as a singer and pianist in 1968 with his self-titled album. Throughout the 1970s he released several other acclaimed albums such as: 12 Songs, Sail Away, and Good Old Boys. In addition to his solo recordings and regular international touring, Newman began composing and scoring for films in the 1980s. The list of movies he has worked on since then includes The Natural, Awakenings, Ragtime, all three Toy Story pictures, Seabiscuit, James and the Giant Peach, A Bug's Life, and most recently, Disney/Pixar's Monsters University, the prequel to Monsters Inc. (which he also scored).
Randy Newman's many honors include six Grammys, three Emmys, and two Academy Awards. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013—the same year he was given an Ivor Novello PRS for Music Special International Award. Mostly recently, Newman was presented with a PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award in June 2014.
The highly praised 2008 Harps and Angels was Newman's first album of new material since 1999. The Austin Chronicle wrote "the characters are memorable, the satire sharp, the music luxurious, and the arrangements maybe the most gorgeous in all pop music." It was followed in 2011 by Vol. 2 of the Songbook series and a live CD and DVD recorded at London's intimate LSO St. Luke's, where he was accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Robert Ziegler. Newman is currently working on his next album of new material, which Nonesuch will release in 2017.
Co-produced by Mitchell Froom and Lenny Waronker
Recorded 2003 & 2010 at Conway Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA
Engineer: David C. Boucher
Assistant Engineer in 2003: Seth Waldmann
Mixed at Sound Factory, Hollywood, CA & Tea Time Studios, Santa Monica, CA
Engineer: David C. Boucher
Assistant Engineer at Sound Factory: Steven Rhodes
All mastering and remastering by Robert C. Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, ME
Art Direction & Design by Michael Carney
Photograph by Mark Sennet
Executive Producers: Robert Hurwitz and Cathy Kerr
Randy Newman, piano and vocals