"Lake Champions" (1999) - This eclectic record has just about everything: torch songs, ballads, and tales; hope, love, and despair. The songs are performed in a subtle and easy manner, with Randy accompanying himself on acoustic guitar and harmonica only. In "Drunk As Can Be" a southern boozer tries to extricate himself from an addictive relationship. In "I Didn't Buy It", a sympathetic cad second-guesses himself and his dearly disposed. The narrator of "Gold" enjoys requited and true love while in "Robinson Crusoe" a man with a strong sense of entitlement tries to lay down the rules for a lopsided affair. In "Next To You" a woman makes her lover feel like Humbert Humbert and Jack the Ripper. A man visits the seedy bars of his old neighborhood in "Standard Time Chop" and, repulsed, is filled with domestic yearnings. In "G-d's song" a gentle, forthright, practical, and insecure G-d revises his commandments - eliminating circumcision, easing the strictures on sexuality, condoning drug use, and admitting that even He isn't quite sure of what's going on. "Lake Champions" is a personal and intimate album that touches on all the trademark Kaplan subjects.
REVIEWS of LAKE CHAMPIONS:
"(Kaplan's) songs are sweetly personal and wonderfully void of pretentious overtones... The stories he sings wind and twist away from the ordinary and toward refreshing new ideas often humorous and bizarre... never predictable."
-THE INDEPENDENT / Lawrence, Kansas
"Long Island-born Randy Kaplan sings of modern romance, male neuroses, and quirky character studies with the off-kilter viewpoint of a man who appreciates the blurred edges as much as the finer points. Like Leonard Cohen before him, and his friend and musical compadre Dan Bern, Randy's self-effacing lyrics make you laugh, cry and blush at their honest simplicity."
-THE BOTTOM LINE / Required Listening preview, New York City
"(Kaplan's) songs display keen psychological insight... His emotional range is broad, running the gamut from uplifting to bleak."
-THE MATTRESS / Olympia, Washington