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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 8. 19th April 1973

Loudon Wainwright III — Loudon Wainwright CBS

Loudon Wainwright III Loudon Wainwright CBS.

Loudon Wainwright is a singer with a bunch of fine musicians behind him who play on most of the tracks. Their support is restrained and serves mainly as rhythm to Wainwright's acoustic guitar but this is curiously effective. A little like the music behind Van Morrison's Astral Weeks. His voice is strong and melodious and suits the mood both when it is sad and happy . . . well, . . . happier.

He wants to find the 'Muse' he fears is vanishing and leans on whiskey and drugs

Oh Must where are you
I keep drinking, smoke stuff
I don't know what to do!

His choked desperation makes for a horrifying song but any drug song that speaks any truth must do this. The man knows what he is talking about and strangely, right throughout the record Wainwright seems to be singing about Wainwright.

He has a very clever lyrical style. Watch this on 'Needless to Say' where he uses assonance in an incredibly clear lyric.

Make no mistake, take what you make
You make it, so it is for you
Nevertheless, the less you guess
So leave out guessing, you 've got to
Please remember my song.

'Dead Skunk' and 'B.Side' could be said to be examples of Wainwright's sense of humour. Oddly enough he was recommended by an overseas paper for his 'sense of humour'. I find his humour lacking and at its worst, very sick: too sick to quote.

'New Point' is another song — the title tells a lot about the song. Wainwright complains about getting older when it's harder to feel the same; to find the enthusiasm to continue.

I'm tired and hungry and I'm looking for my youth
I'm a little uncool and a little uncouth
Oh excuse me, excuse me if you will.

Wainwright is not a happy man and I suspect he drinks heavily. Alcohol might deaden the pain hut it finally becomes the source of it. But as he points out on 'Drinking Song": there hat vet to be a perfectly straight line.

On the best of these songs Loudon Wainwright seems to break through, to cry up to the joy he knows he can touch. He has none of the slickness or refined 'beauty' so many singers of this ilk aspire to. The man is coarse, sometime disgusting but he is honest. The songs are about Wainwright, be portrays a struggle but occasionally be seems to stop fighting and play some of the best music I've heard this year.

Image of a head with a line down the middle