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Attempted Mustache

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iTunes Review

Following the surprise success of novelty hit "Dead Skunk" on Loudon Wainwright's first full-band production, Album III, he headed to Nashville to cut Attempted Mustache with producer Bob Johnston (Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, et al) and some hotshot country musicians. There's not much country flavor to the album; like its predecessor it alternates between solo acoustic tunes and band-backed folk rock. While Wainwright never had another hit after "Dead Skunk," a number of the songs had lives beyond Attempted Mustache -- "Swimming Song" was covered by Kate & Anna McGarrigle (Kate was Wainwright's wife at the time), Lucy Kaplansky, and others, and was featured in the film The Squid and the Whale; Johnny Cash cut absurdist parable "The Man Who Couldn't Cry" on his landmark American Recordings album; and the Kate-penned "Come a Long Way" showed up on the McGarrigles' second LP. But the song bearing the most portent was "Dilated to Meet You," a wry greeting to the baby Wainwright and McGarrigle were expecting, who of course turned out to be future singer/songwriter star Rufus Wainwright.

Customer Reviews

One of Wainwright's best early albums

This is a great place to start for people who are interested in exploring Wainwright's early recordings. It has several classic songs: "Lullaby" a song about desperation, frustration and self-pity that has a perfectly defeated melody to support its withering lyrics. "The Swimming Song" a suprisingly and delightfully direct and celebratory song from the generally acerbic and frequently facetious Wainwright. "Dilated to Meet You" is funny and charming song about anticipating a child's birth. "The Man Who Couldn't Cry" is one his best and bitterest jokes. Many of the other songs are nearly as good and the minor songs are more than listenable. Wainwright tends to sound best solo but this album as some of the best backing of any of his albums "Come a Long Way" a nice gentle country swing to it. Try this album out!


There's something wonderful in every track here: a dirty joke, a grumble about stardom, a break-up metaphor that catches you when you least expect it. But I'm giving this five starts because "The Swimming Song". A perfect metaphor for...well, that depends on the attentions of my loved ones, the definition of "grace", the temperature of the water at the deep end of the YMCA pool...

Songs that make me smile

Absolutely adore this song!


Born: September 5, 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...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by Loudon Wainwright III