I first heard Motel Blues on the New Age of Atlantic sampler album in 1973 and went straight out and bought Album II. I was glad I did. It is a brilliant album. It was recorded before Dead Skunk became a hit and turned Loudon's career toward the humorous side. Most of the songs on this album are serious. Apart from Motel Blues, which knocked me for six when I heard it, Saw Your Name In The Paper is a cracker. It's about Liza Minelli, next door to whom Loudon Wainwright grew up. There are some incisive lines 'Take the money, take the love, take all the people give, the people all are dying but somehow you help them live. The people will destroy you, their love will turn to hate. But now you scratch at that itch that's grown so great.' The life of a star.
My favourite song on the album, though, is Me and My Friend The Cat. I think it's about meeting an old acquaintance whom you really don't want to talk to but end up reminiscing with and hating every moment: 'We talked about this, about that, we tallked together, the blubber was bit, it gagged in our throats, out foamed a fit.' All this spit out with a huge amount of vitriolic power and the guitar probably knocked out of tune by the end. Great stuff.
I recommend this album very highly. There is only one problem with it and that is that in these days of CDs lasting 60 minutes and more it is only about 32 minutes long. A few extras could have been thrown in, I reckon. Never mind. It's still worth it.