Sunday 20 February 2011

Loudon in a Box - the devil is in the detail

Loudon Wainwright box set to be released this May

Posted on 17 February 2011

40 Odd Years into an exceptionally prolific and storied career, Loudon Wainwright III is being celebrated with an aptly named career-spanning 4-CD/1-DVD box set, including a 40-page book, with an essay by renowned journalist/author David Wild and an introduction by filmmaker and box set co-producer Judd Apatow, to be released by Shout! Factory on May 3, 2011.

The first 200 to pre-order from will receive an exclusive booklet signed by Loudon Wainwright III himself.

“40 Odd Years” features songs from throughout Wainwright’s career, including works of brilliance such as “The Man Who Couldn’t Cry” from 1973’s Attempted Mustache, which Johnny Cash would record with producer Rick Rubin decades later, to the genuinely odd “Dead Skunk,” which became a #16 pop hit and thus a true novelty in the Wainwright canon, to highlights from his most recent projects, including cuts from the Grammy®-winning album High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project. The 3+ hour DVD includes an extremely rare documentary made for Dutch television entitled One Man Guy, TV appearances on the BBC, Saturday Night Live, and Austin City Limits, as well as several unreleased concert performances.

Judd Apatow, who co-produced the set with Wainwright, and who credits the artist as a great influence on his own career, writes in his introduction “I wanted to do what he has always done: to be brutally honest, emotional, hilarious and sweet all at the same time. Whenever I wonder what my tone might be, if I am confused, I just listen to a Loudon Wainwright song.”

In his essay, David Wild notes that “Wainwright has long been one of our most fearless troubadours. His art is fearless even though his songs are shot full of fear and fun, false pride, tortured insecurity and a lovely and graceful kind of self-deprecating genius. Whether he’s being devastatingly funny, fully self-lacerating or just brutally confessional, Loudon Wainwright III has always been a writer who sharply expresses his own distinct point of view on our larger human comedy.”

The New York-born Grammy-winning songwriter has traveled quite a path. Discovered by Atlantic’s Nesuhi Ertegun and John Hammond, Sr., the Columbia A&R man who had already signed Bob Dylan and would soon sign Bruce Springsteen, Wainwright established his literary yet utterly unpretentious take on the grand folk music tradition right from the start. The son of Loudon Wainwright II, a prominent editor and columnist for Life magazine, Wainwright III studied acting at Carnegie Mellon University before dropping out to pursue a music career. After a short time performing at clubs in Boston and New York City, he signed his first record deal, in 1968. As Wainwright recalls, “I made the first two albums that were critical successes, but no one bought them, and Atlantic dropped me. So then Clive Davis signed me at Columbia with the understanding that I’d actually try and play with some other musicians too.”

A year or two later Wainwright appeared, albeit fleetingly, as Captain Spaulding — “the singing surgeon” — on three episodes during the third season of the historic television series M*A*S*H. That was the opening salvo of an impressive second career for Wainwright — as an actor. He played a fantastically flawed father on the Fox TV series Undeclared, his first in a series of projects with Apatow. He has also appeared in such films as Jacknife, 28 Days, Big Fish, The Aviator, Elizabethtown and Apatow’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, in which Wainwright played an obstetrician and contributed some fantastic songs, including “Daughter” (written by Peter Blegvad) and “Grey In L.A.”

’40 Odd Years’ — which gathers together all of Loudon Wainwright III’s best work — displays his unique approach to music making. Rather than write about global politics or simply sing shallow love songs, Wainwright has focused on writing about life’s more domestic, and ultimately universal, aspects. He has written extensively about family and his children, three of whom – Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, and Lucy Wainwright Roche – are songwriters. Other themes include love, lust and the horrible and unkind things we do to one another in our personal lives.

“I’m lucky — it still feels like there’s work to do, and I’m doing it,” says the 64-year-old singer-songwriter. “I hate the travel, the airports, the hotels, but I love the job itself, which is writing the songs and doing the shows. As a kid I had a dream of being a performer, and lo and behold it came true. Not only that but it turned out I was a writer, something I didn’t necessarily want to become, probably because my old man seemed so tortured and miserable about his work. But I became one anyway. So now the plan is to keep performing and writing for as long as possible.”

40 Odd Years Track Listing:

Disc One:

1. School Days
2. I Don’t Care
3. Uptown
4. Be Careful There’s A Baby In The House
5. Saw Your Name In The Paper
6. Dead Skunk
7. New Paint
8. Drinking Song
9. Swimming Song
10. Dilated To Meet You
11. Down Drinking At The Bar
12. The Man Who Couldn’t Cry
13. Whatever Happened To Us?
14. Crime Of Passion
15. Kick In The Head
16. Summer’s Almost Over
17. Just Like President Thieu
18. Golfin’ Blues
19. The Heckler
20. Natural Disaster
21. Red Guitar
22. Hollywood Hopeful
24. The Grammy Song

Disc Two:

1. Westchester County
2. I’m Alright
3. Screaming Issue
4. Unhappy Anniversary
5. Your Mother And I
6. Synchronicity
7. Hard Day On The Planet
8. You Don’t Want To Know
9. Bill Of Goods
10. Thanksgiving
11. Your Father’s Car
12. When I’m At Your House
13. The Picture
14. Men
15. So Many Songs
16. Tip That Waitress
17. I’d Rather Be Lonely
18. April Fool’s Day Morn
19. The Acid Song
21. A Year
22. Dreaming

Disc Three:

1. So Damn Happy
2. Primrose Hill
3. Bein’ A Dad
4. Four Mirrors
5. It’s Love And I Hate It
6. Christmas Morning
7. Pretty Good Day
8. White Winos
9. Bed
10. Surviving Twin
11. The Shit Song
12. Between
13. My Biggest Fan
14. When You Leave
15. Make Your Mother Mad
16. Daughter
17. Grey In L.A.
18. Muse Blues
19. Motel Blues
20. The Deal
21. Rowena
22. High Wide & Handsome

Disc Four (rare and uneleased):

1. Weave Room Blues (with Kate McGarrigle)
2. McSorley’s
3. Black Uncle Remus (demo with band)
4. Funny Having Money
5. The Hardy Boys At The Y (with The Boys Of The Lough)
6. Laid
7. Outsidey
8. Somethin’ Stupid (with Barry Humpries)
9. The Miles
10. So Good So Far (live from The Bottom Line)
11. Big Fish
12. No Sure Way
13. Hey There Second Grader
14. More I Cannot Wish You
15. Florida (Lucky You)
16. Hank & Fred (live at KGSR, Austin, TX, Dec. 5, 2003)
17. Your Eyes
18. Dead Man
19. At The End Of A Long Lonely Day (with Suzzy Roche)

Disc Five – DVD:

One Man Guy
1993 Dutch television documentary

BBC4 Sessions: Loudon Wainwright: One Man Guy
Filmed at Bush Hall, London, on May 2, 2005
“One Man Guy”
“When You Leave”
“Half Fist”

Loudon Wainwright III at The BBC
Aired on September 23, 2005
“Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms”
“Unrequited To The Nth Degree”
“Dump The Dog And Feed The Garbage”
“Glad To See You’ve Got Religion”
“Motel Blues”
“Rufus Is A Tit Man”
“Cardboard Boxes”
“Hitting You”
“Career Moves”

Dead Man
Filmed on May 24, 2010; recording session documentary

Entertainment Desk
Aired on Canadian television in 1995
“The End Has Begun” with Martha Wainwright

High Wide & Handsome – The Charlie Poole Project
Filmed in 2009 for documentary on making of album
“My Mother And My Sweetheart” with Rufus Wainwright

The Basement
Filmed in Sydney, Australia in 2008
“Needless To Say” with Lucy Wainwright Roche

Austin City Limits
“Lullaby” (January 13, 1988)
“Living Alone” (February 16, 1999)
“Homeless” (February 16, 1999)
“Tonya’s Twirls” (February 16, 1999)
“OGM” (February 16, 1999)

Saturday Night Live
Aired on NBC on November 15, 1975
“Unrequited To The Nth Degree”

The Garfield House
Filmed on May 24, 2010
“New Paint” with Joe Henry & Greg Leisz
“Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder” with Joe Henry & Greg Leisz
“Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms” with Christopher Guest
“June Apple” with Christopher Guest
“Unhappy Anniversary” with Christopher Guest
“Kings And Queens” with George Gerdes

826LA Benefit
Filmed on January 16, 2007
“Grey In L.A.”

PBS Soundstage
Aired on February 2, 1977
“Kick In The Head”

McCabe’s Guitar Shop
Filmed on February 3, 2007
“Passion Play”

The Mike Douglas Show
Aired on April 25, 1978
Interview and “Fear With Flying”

Aired on ABC on June 22, 2005
“A Father And A Son”

Carrott Confidential
Aired on BBC on February 14, 1987

1 comment:

  1. The live stuff would make a great sixth CD