Randy Newman's commercial breakthrough Good Old Boys was originally planned as a concept album revolving around a Southern everyman, but at some point the overall concept was dropped. In its final form, the 1974 release still maintains a certain element of the original concept, but mostly it's just Newman taking on various aspects of Southern living, which he does through tracks like "Birmingham," "Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man)," "Louisiana 1927," and "Kingfish." There are also a few notable guest stars in the mix, with members of the Eagles playing behind Newman on "Every Man a King" and Ry Cooder on bottleneck guitar on "Back on My Feet Again."
Overall, Good Old Boys is a powerful album that you may not realize is powerful unless you take the time to sit down and really listen to the words Newman is singing. It may take you more than one listen, because it's very easy to get caught up in the music, but once you zero in on some of the sentiments that are being delivered - many of which are taken straight from the Southern mindset of the day - you realize just how remarkable a songwriter Randy Newman truly is. At the very least, though, there seems to be little argument about the suggestion that Good Old Boys is one of the best things in the man's back catalog.