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Album Review

If any label has the means to exploit its catalog, it's Rounder. This is a volume in its Perfect Ten series. Simply put, the label picked ten of its best-known artists, and chose a representative selection from what they issued. Most of these artists — Ruth Brown, Ted Hawkins, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Solomon Burke, Duke Robillard, Johnny Adams, Mississippi John Hurt, Johnny Copeland, Tracy Nelson, and the subject of this collection, Loudon Wainwright III — did record better material elsewhere, but the sides here do capture them at particular and sometimes poignant and important places in their careers. This faux retrospective of Wainwright, culls ten tracks from three albums: A Live One, Fame and Wealth, and I'm Alright. This was by many estimations the songwriter's most darkly humorous — and many would argue most bitterly cynical — period, which makes it noteworthy in and of itself. Musically, these cuts aren't the "best" of Wainwright, whose earlier records on Atlantic and Columbia, and his 2008 surprise Recovery, carry that distinction. Still, there are some fine tracks here including "April's Day Morn," with a great guest spot on by Richard Thompson, and "Out of This World," with a fine backing vocal from Christine Collister. It's hard to know who this appeals to, because the hardcore fans already have this stuff, and it doesn't really serve as a representative introduction to the man's work for newcomers.


Born: 05 September 1946 in Chapel Hill, NC

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Loudon Wainwright III grew up in the town of Bedford in wealthy Westchester County north of New York City, the son of Loudon S. Wainwright, Jr., a writer and editor at Life magazine and a direct descendant of colonial governor Peter Stuyvesant. Wainwright became a folk singer/songwriter in the late '60s, singing humorous and nakedly honest autobiographical songs. Signed to Atlantic Records, he recorded Album I (1970) and Album II (1971), accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, before switching to...
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Essential Recordings: Loudon Wainwright III - One Man Guy, Loudon Wainwright III
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