12 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Loudon Wainwright spent most of the '70s recording for major labels, utilizing increasingly elaborate production. But when he shifted to Rounder Records and stripped down his sound, whether for budgetary or aesthetic reasons, he ended up giving himself an artistic shot in the arm. On his second studio set for Rounder, I'm Alright, he teamed up with Richard Thompson, who had guested on Wainwright's previous album. Thompson produced "I'm Alright" in England, and in addition to his own guitar prowess, he enlisted some first-call U.K. folk rockers, including alumni of Fairport Convention. The Brits flesh out the tunes as necessary, but Thompson sagely leaves Loudon plenty of elbow room. The result is some of Wainwright's most effective work, whether he's employing his famously skewed sense of humor on "Cardboard Boxes," a song about the travails of moving house, tackling emotionally charged subjects like John Lennon's assassination ("Not John") or writing a kind of anti-blues about surviving romantic desolation (the album's title track).

EDITORS’ NOTES

Loudon Wainwright spent most of the '70s recording for major labels, utilizing increasingly elaborate production. But when he shifted to Rounder Records and stripped down his sound, whether for budgetary or aesthetic reasons, he ended up giving himself an artistic shot in the arm. On his second studio set for Rounder, I'm Alright, he teamed up with Richard Thompson, who had guested on Wainwright's previous album. Thompson produced "I'm Alright" in England, and in addition to his own guitar prowess, he enlisted some first-call U.K. folk rockers, including alumni of Fairport Convention. The Brits flesh out the tunes as necessary, but Thompson sagely leaves Loudon plenty of elbow room. The result is some of Wainwright's most effective work, whether he's employing his famously skewed sense of humor on "Cardboard Boxes," a song about the travails of moving house, tackling emotionally charged subjects like John Lennon's assassination ("Not John") or writing a kind of anti-blues about surviving romantic desolation (the album's title track).

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Ratings and Reviews

4.3 out of 5

6 Ratings
6 Ratings

Aparrently the reviewer knows nothing when it comes to Loudon

Arts22

Every song, every album that this guy comes out with, is a personal reflection of who he is and what he is going through. For one to say that not John is a clunky tribute. Is completely ignorant. You can't jump into a Loudon Wainwright album without listening to the prior albums. It is a story ... and Loudon is a master at it. For everyone else... I f you like folk music with a great backstory and uniquely thought out well place lyrics, then you will love Loudon... Theres allot more to him than a dead skunk. So enjoy getting to know Loudon....

I have

Are you Kidding Me?

PUP Elias

The top reviewer has a screw loose. This is my favorite album of the the 1980's. I learned more about songwriting from this album than any other album period. While Springsteen was hitting the top of the charts with one of his worst albums. Wainwright had a jewel hidden below the surface. I absolutely love every song except "Daddy take a Nap" could have been left off. This and "History" are his best from this period. Richard Thompson and Loudon make a great team. Wainwright can be caustic at times but not here. Great!!!!

About Loudon Wainwright III

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 Columbia Records, for which he made the folk-rock Album III (1972), which featured the Top 40 novelty hit "Dead Skunk." Attempted Mustache (1973) and the half-live Unrequited (1975) did not continue that commercial success, though Wainwright's humor and engaging stage persona made him a cult figure and a concert favorite.

Meanwhile, his songs were recorded by others, notably Kate (his wife, later divorced, who died in 2010) and Anna McGarrigle, and Wainwright appeared in the off-Broadway show Pump Boys and Dinettes and played a featured role on the successful M*A*S*H television series. He moved to Arista Records for T Shirt (1976) and Final Exam (1978), on which he was backed by a rock band, but departed the major labels for a more appropriate home on the folk-based indie Rounder for A Live One (1980) and Fame and Wealth (1983).

Wainwright began to gain more notice in England than in the U.S., and he moved to London in 1985. I'm Alright (1985) and More Love Songs (1986) were co-produced by British singer/guitarist Richard Thompson. Therapy (1989) found Wainwright on the major-label-distributed Silvertone imprint and back living in the U.S., and he signed to Virgin Records' Charisma subsidiary for History (1992) and the live Career Moves (1993). Grown Man, his 15th album, was released in 1995, followed three years later by Little Ship. In 1999, there appeared a collection of topical, humorous songs Wainwright had been composing since the late '80s for National Public Radio, titled Social Studies; the following year, The BBC Sessions collected favorites and new compositions. The Last Man on Earth followed in 2001, and the live album So Damn Happy marked his debut for Sanctuary in 2003. Another studio album, Here Come the Choppers, was released in 2005. It was followed by Strange Weirdos: Music from and Inspired by the Film Knocked Up in 2007 and by Recovery in 2008.

In 2011, Shout! Factory issued a major career retrospective: a five-disc box set entitled 40 Odd Years that included album tracks, a complete CD of rare and unreleased material, and a 200-plus-minute DVD that included an hourlong documentary as well as dozens of performances. In 2009, Wainwright released High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project. The set featured songs by the American folk and country icon, as well as new songs that helped move his odd legend forward. Older Than My Old Man Now appeared in 2012, a collection of 15 songs featuring contributions from all four of Wainwright's children and two of his three wives, and including a song co-written with late ex-wife, Kate McGarrigle. In September of 2014, Wainwright released Haven't Got the Blues (Yet). It was produced by David Mansfield and issued on 429 Records. ~ William Ruhlmann

HOMETOWN
Chapel Hill, NC
BORN
September 5, 1946

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