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Archives: Randy Newman

2017 7 Aug

Before and After Dorothy

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Hello Brian,

here’s a „gospelmate“ of yours:


„The Great Debate“ is an eight-minute mini-musical that pits science against religion to determine, once and for all, who is right when it comes to humanity and existence. Though you are an atheist, in the song, the religious side comes out on top, largely thanks to the power of gospel music.

Randy Newman: Faith wins because it’s got Dorothy Love Coates, the Golden Gate Quartet, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, everybody. I don’t know whether I am a music lover, strictly – it’s hard to say how I feel about it – but I love good gospel music. No doubt. My side, the agnostic, atheist side, has got nothing like that. There’s no great song that’s like, “Let’s all not believe and play our agnostic hymnals!” They got everything: the high ceilings, the confessions – man what a hit idea.

(from a new Pitchfork interview)


P.S. Though you’ve never been too much interested in your historical ego, it’s great to see how these four classics from the 70’s receive a lot of interesting thoughts and appraisals, funny enough, nearly no one has been diving deeper into the special sound quality of the new „half-speed masters“. And there should be an improvement – standing up three times to get the full experience, makes a difference to old time vinyl experiences :) – I’m prepared for some comparative listening soon … best, Michael



Thanks Micha,

I’m just reading Anthony Heilbutt’s book THE GOSPEL SOUND which has a lot about Dorothy Love Coates in it … I’m still in love with her.

Yes, the old albums have had a good reception. I should listen to them again myself 😉. Last time I listened to any of them I found myself thinking „Who was that person?“. Releasing little time-capsules called „albums“ certainly gives you some surprises later in life: surprises about how much you change over a lifetime, and about which bits don’t change.

And I see Randy Newman has a new record out too. I look forward to that – always admired him enormously as a songwriter (GOOD OLE BOYS one of my alltime favourite albums).


„What has happened down here is that the wind has changed –
clouds roll in from the north and it started to rain.
And it rained real hard and it rained for a real long time,
six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline …
Louisiana, Louisiana –
they’re tryin‘ to wash us away,
they’re tryin‘ to wash us away.“

(Randy Newman)

Martin Simpson – „Louisiana 1927“

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