1977 Randy Newman – Little Criminals

Little Criminals is a 1977 album by Randy Newman. Like most of Newman’s work, the album eschews traditional pop-music themes (“I’ll Be Home” is the only love song on the album) in favor of musical story-telling, often featuring quirky characters and cynical views. The first song on the album – “Short People” – became a hit single in its own right. The album itself peaked at #9 on the US Billboard 200 chart, Newman’s highest-charting album to date.

Some of the instrumental work and backing vocals on the album are performed by members of the Eagles. In particular, Glenn Frey played guitar on two tracks, Joe Walsh played guitar on three tracks, and Don Henley and Timothy B Schmit sang background vocals on one track each. Frey and J. D. Souther, who had earlier been the duo Longbranch Pennywhistle, sang background vocals on three tracks.

Newman wrote, conducted and played keyboards on all tracks. Synthesizers were programmed by Michael Boddicker.

In September 1977 the British music magazine NME published the following interview with Newman talking sardonically about his then new release: “There’s one song about a child murderer,” Newman deadpans. “That’s fairly optimistic. Maybe. There’s one called ‘Jolly Coppers on Parade’ which isn’t an absolutely anti-police song. Maybe it’s even a fascist song. I didn’t notice at the time. There’s also one about me as a cowboy called ‘Rider in the Rain’. I think it’s ridiculous. The Eagles are on there. That’s what’s good about it. There’s also this song ‘Short People’. It’s purely a joke. I like other ones on the album better but the audiences go for that one.”

The song “Baltimore” was covered by Nina Simone, Nils Lofgren, The Tamlins, David Gray, Billy Mackenzie, Lianne La Havas, Jazmine Sullivan and in 2015 Nedric Nedo. “In Germany Before the War” was covered by British band Diesel Park West on their covers album “God Only Knows” in 1992. The song “I’ll Be Home”, meanwhile, had been written by Newman years previously, and was originally recorded in 1970 by Harry Nilsson on his album Nilsson Sings Newman.

Tracks

1  Short People (Randy Newman) 2:58
2  You Can’t Fool The Fat Man (Randy Newman) 2:46
3  Little Criminals (Randy Newman) 3:06
4  Texas Girl At The Funeral Of Her Father (Randy Newman) 2:43
5  Jolly Coppers On Parade (Randy Newman) 3:49
6  In Germany Before The War (Randy Newman) 3:42
7  Sigmund Freud’s Impersonation Of Albert Einstein In America (Randy Newman) 2:53
8  Baltimore (Randy Newman) 4:05
9  I’ll Be Home (Randy Newman) 2:48
10  Rider In The Rain (Randy Newman) 3:54
11  Kathleen (Randy Newman) 3:37
12  Old Man On The Farm (Randy Newman) 2:13

Media

Musicians

1 Short People

BassKlaus Voormann
DrumsJim Keltner
GuitarWaddy Wachtel
KeyboardsRandy Newman
PercussionMilt Holland
Background VocalsGlenn Frey
Background VocalsJohn David Souther
Background VocalsTimothy B Schmit
VocalsRandy Newman


2 You Can’t Fool The Fat Man

BassWillie Weeks
DrumsAndy Newmark
KeyboardsRandy Newman
PercussionMilt Holland
VocalsRandy Newman


3 Little Criminals

BassWillie Weeks
DrumsAndy Newmark
DrumsRick Marotta
GuitarGlenn Frey
GuitarJoe Walsh
Slide GuitarJoe Walsh
KeyboardsRandy Newman
PercussionMilt Holland
VocalsRandy Newman


4 Texas Girl At The Funeral Of Her Father

PianoRalph Grierson
VocalsRandy Newman


5 Jolly Coppers On Parade

BassKlaus Voormann
DrumsJim Keltner
GuitarWaddy Wachtel
KeyboardsRandy Newman
PercussionMilt Holland
PercussionJim Keltner
VocalsRandy Newman


6 In Germany Before The War

KeyboardsRandy Newman
VocalsRandy Newman


7 Sigmund Freud’s Impersonation Of Albert Einstein In America

BassWillie Weeks
DrumsJim Keltner
KeyboardsRandy Newman
VocalsRandy Newman


8 Baltimore

BassWillie Weeks
DrumsAndy Newmark
DrumsRick Marotta
GuitarGlenn Frey
KeyboardsRandy Newman
PercussionMilt Holland
Background VocalsJohn David Souther
Background VocalsGlenn Frey
VocalsRandy Newman


9 I’ll Be Home

BassKlaus Voormann
DrumsJim Keltner
GuitarWaddy Wachtel
KeyboardsRandy Newman
VocalsRandy Newman


10 Rider In The Rain

BassWillie Weeks
DrumsRick Marotta
GuitarWaddy Wachtel
KeyboardsRandy Newman
Background VocalsDon Henley
Background VocalsGlenn Frey
Background VocalsJohn David Souther
VocalsRandy Newman


11 Kathleen

BassWillie Weeks
DrumsRick Marotta
GuitarJoe Walsh
MandolinRy Cooder
KeyboardsRandy Newman
VocalsRandy Newman


12 Old Man On The Farm

KeyboardsRandy Newman
VocalsRandy Newman

Liner Notes

Producer – Lenny Waronker, Russ Titelman
Production Assistant – Noel Newbolt, Sue Bridgman
Arranged By – Randy Newman
Conductor – Randy Newman
Engineer – Lee Herschberg, Loyd Clifft
Programmed By (Synthesizers) – Michael Boddicker

Design (Cover) – Mike Salisbury
Photography By (Cover) – Bob Seidemann

Phonographic Copyright (p) – Warner Bros. Records Inc.
Copyright (c) – Warner Bros. Records Inc.
Copyright (c) – Hightree Music
Copyright (c) – January Music Corp.
Pressed By – Capitol Records Pressing Plant, Los Angeles
Published By – Hightree Music
Recorded At – Warner Bros. Recording Studios
Remixed At – Warner Bros. Recording Studios
Mastered At – Warner Bros. Recording Studios