Friday, September 12, 2014

Loudon Wainwright - Attempted Mustache

Loudon Wainwright – Attempted Mustache
Columbia, 1973
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
Price: $1
Loudon Wainwright’s fourth album is just as good as his first three. Brimming with heart, humor, and honesty, Attempted Mustache is a fantastic display of Wainwright’s particular brand of folk music. Opening track “The Swimming Song” is right up there with “One Man Guy” or “Dead Skunk” in terms of tracks that would land in the top 5 on his greatest hits. There’s something so pure and easygoing about that track, though. It mourns the end of summer and celebrates it via a season of swimming in the ocean, swimming pools, and reservoirs. “I Am the Way”—recorded live and told from the point of view of Jesus Christ—highlight’s Wainwright’s grin-worthy humor with lines like “Every son of God gets a little hard luck some time/ Especially when He goes around saying He’s the Way.” It’s akin to John Prine, who, like Wainwright, is a master of being simultaneously lighthearted and incredibly deep. There are a number of jauntier, bluesier numbers thrown in but they pale in comparison to the tracks where it’s just Wainwright on his own exercising his storytelling muscles. “The Man Who Couldn’t Cry” is tucked away on Side Two but delivers the album’s biggest emotional punch. The lovely “Come A Long Way”—penned by his then wife Kate McGarrigle—is another of these intimate numbers that serve as a nice contrast to Wanwright’s wackier side.

"Swimming Song"

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