Attempted Mustache

Attempted Mustache

Following the surprise success of novelty hit "Dead Skunk" on Loudon Wainwright's first full-band production, Album III, he headed to Nashville to cut Attempted Mustache with producer Bob Johnston (Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, et al) and some hotshot country musicians. There's not much country flavor to the album; like its predecessor it alternates between solo acoustic tunes and band-backed folk rock. While Wainwright never had another hit after "Dead Skunk," a number of the songs had lives beyond Attempted Mustache -- "Swimming Song" was covered by Kate & Anna McGarrigle (Kate was Wainwright's wife at the time), Lucy Kaplansky, and others, and was featured in the film The Squid and the Whale; Johnny Cash cut absurdist parable "The Man Who Couldn't Cry" on his landmark American Recordings album; and the Kate-penned "Come a Long Way" showed up on the McGarrigles' second LP. But the song bearing the most portent was "Dilated to Meet You," a wry greeting to the baby Wainwright and McGarrigle were expecting, who of course turned out to be future singer/songwriter star Rufus Wainwright.

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