Album III

Loudon Wainwright III

Album III

Loudon Wainwright's third album marked a major change in production approach, which is to say that there was one; Wainwright's first two releases were solo acoustic affairs. But with famed producer Thomas Jefferson Kaye on board, Album III featured full-band backing from some of the best session players around (David Sanborn, Hugh McCracken, etc.), and consequently, a move toward folk rock. Perhaps not coincidentally, the album earned Wainwright his first and only Top 40 single, "Dead Skunk," a country-flavored tune about grievously aromatic roadkill that became a novelty hit. While humor has always been a key element in Wainwright's artistic arsenal, he usually takes a more ironic approach, as on "Red Guitar," where he mocks the rock-star guitar-smashing tradition, or "Muse Blues," a sarcasm-soaked take on the search for inspiration. But as the affecting, irony-free ballad "Needless to Say" makes clear, Wainwright's also entirely capable of playing it straight any time it suits his fancy.

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