12 Songs is a 1970 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, blues and country.
As with all of Newman's early albums, several of its songs had been previously recorded