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Loudon Wainwright III

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Although many people believe that the era of true folk-rock singer-songwriters is over, there are some gems left. One of these is Loudon Wainwright III from Westchester County, New York.

Loudon started singing in the mid-sixties and was regarded somewhat of a sex-symbol. When he went solo a year or so later, he sang a lot of Bob Dylan songs and even won some Dylan imitation shows. Although Loudon has been compared to Bob Dylan numerous times there is no real similarity. Dylan used to write very cryptic lyrics while Loudon's greatest strength lies in the fact that he writes about everyday life in a simple way. It has to be said, however, that everyday life for Loudon Wainwright III can sometimes get a little twisted.

Loudon was married several times. Among those he married was Kate MacGarrigle, perhaps best known for the monster-hit 'Complainte pour St Catharine', which she recorded with her sister Anna.

His oldest son Rufus is now also steadily on his way to becoming a well-respected artist. He released his first album in 1998 and it was met with great critical acclaim.

The Songs of Loudon Wainwright III

Loudon has written songs about babies, drunks, drugs, airports, sex, hippies, golfers and Grammy winners. He has also written some pretty serious songs that deal very honestly with hard subjects:

Long ago I hit you, we were in the car
You went crazy in the backseat, it had gone too far
And I pulled the auto over, hit you with all my might
And I knew right away that it was too hard, I'd never make it right
These days things are awful between me and you
All we do is argue like two people who are through
I blame you, your friends, your school, your mother and MTV
Last night I almost hit you, that blame belongs to me

- 'Hitting You'

However, let's be really clear about this, the way that Loudon usually works on the tearducts is that when you listen to his music, you just can't stop laughing.

Well it's 3am, and so I creep
Around the house 'cause you're asleep
I can't sleep, I gotta smoke
I think I left some in my coat
No they're not there, but there's a chance
I left some in a packet in my pants
Bumped down the table, just below the belt
If you were a man baby you'd know how that felt
Just one thing I don't want to do
And that one thing is to wake up you
My hands are shaking, my brow it is damp
Bumped into the chair, knocked over the lamp
Bumped into the chair, knocked over the lamp
Sure I know where some cigarettes are
But it's too cold outside to go to the car
I know this habit of mine, it's gotta be fed
I'm gonna get down I'm gonna scrounge around under the bed
Under the bed, down on the floor
Up on top baby I can hear you snore
Snore baby... ooooooh
Snore baby... ooooooh
Eureka! I'm in luck
I found some matches and a crumpled butt
And just to show I love you
I'm not gonna look for an ashtray baby, I'm gonna use your shoe!
Well it's 3am, and so I creep
Around the house 'cause you're asleep

- 'Nocturnal Stumblebutt'

These Days

After years of working the road around the clock, Loudon has finally come to be recognized by more than the handful who bought all of his records and went to every concert. Nowadays, he performs at The Paradiso in Amsterdam and he is a regular guest on BBC television. Yes that's right, he's at least as popular in Britain as he is in the USA. Thankfully, not all artists have to die first before they're recognized.

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