Was very pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon a late night transmission of Randy Newman in concert with the BBC Orchestra last night. The repertoire ranged from the early years (MAMA TOLD ME NOT TO COME) to songs from his last CD (A FEW WORDS IN DEFENSE OF OUR COUNTRY). Randy has to be one of the most distinctive song writers to come out of America in the last 50 years. With a wit and wisdom not bestowed on many he manages to find his own very special niche in the popular music canon. Hardly possessing the acme pop star template with his froggy voice, needing to wear glasses, and a propensity to using themes about racism, bigotry and insensitivity, Randy nevertheless, delivers his songs with intelligence, grace and exceptional craft.