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12 Songs
Studio album by Randy Newman
Released February 1970
Recorded mid-1969
Genre Rock
Length 29:51
Label Reprise Records
Producer Lenny Waronker;
with Jack Nitzsche on "Let's Burn Down the Cornfield"
Professional reviews
Randy Newman chronology
Randy Newman
12 Songs
Randy Newman Live

12 Songs is a 1970 (see 1970 in music) album by singer/songwriter Randy Newman. His second album, 12 Songs received much better reviews than his first. On 12 Songs Newman collaborates with Clarence White and Ry Cooder. The album set the stage for Newman's later career with songs sung from the point of view of different characters. Whereas most of his songwriting contemporaries wrote confessional songs, Newman chose a different path, writing first-person character sketches instead. And on this album some of those characters include low-lifes, losers, racists, and drunks. These picaresques were often used by Newman to satirize conventional song lyrics. For instance, on this album he deconstructed the conventions of the love song on tracks like "Have You Seen My Baby?," "Suzanne," and "Lucinda."

Some of the targets of Newman's satire on this album (which he would return to on future albums) include racism ("Yellow Man"), L.A.'s rock scene ("Mama Told Me Not To Come"), and the South ("Old Kentucky Home").

The songs on the album cover a wide range of styles, including rock 'n roll, R & B, folk, jazz, and blues.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 354 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Track listing

All tracks composed by Randy Newman; except where indicated

  1. "Have You Seen My Baby?" – 2:32
  2. "Let's Burn Down the Cornfield" – 3:03
  3. "Mama Told Me Not to Come" – 2:12
  4. "Suzanne" – 3:15
  5. "Lover's Prayer" – 1:55
  6. "Lucinda" – 2:40
  7. "Underneath the Harlem Moon" (Mack Gordon, Harry Revel) – 1:52
  8. "Yellow Man" – 2:19
  9. "Old Kentucky Home" – 2:40
  10. "Rosemary" – 2:08
  11. "If You Need Oil" – 3:00
  12. "Uncle Bob's Midnight Blues" – 2:15


Randy Newman - vocals, piano



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