Loudon Wainwright is the most entertaining singer I've ever seen.
The first time I saw him he bounded on stage, beamed roguishly at us all, then ingenuously said "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash." From that moment he had us all in the palm of his hand.
It helps that Loud writes wonderful songs, as witty as anybody's and wittier than most, and can make you laugh and cry in the space of a verse, sometimes a line.
It's all captured on this 1993 gig at New York's Bottom Line, recorded in 1993. Starting solo, and joined later by Chaim Tannenbaum and David Mansfield, he sings 24 songs, and the audience love him. They tend to.
Some of these songs are from his albums, but not all. Besides, he's such a consummate live act that it hardly matters.
By his own admission, one of Loudon's main lyrical inspirations was the American satirical singer (and mathematician) Tom Lehrer, who I grew up listening to myself. But what Wainwright has, which Lehrer didn't to any extent, is the power to move the listener. His sense of timing is that of a showman. (No wonder he's occasionally been effective as an actor.)
I agree with another reviewer who suggests this is the best live album ever. It's certainly up there with the best. You don't need to be James Brown or B.B. King to make a great live record. Loud did it, mostly with just a guitar.
If you've never seen him and he's playing near you, book without hesitation. In the meantime, this is a perfect example of why you should.
Like life, hilarious and heartbreaking.
- Original Release Date: 10 Sept. 1993
- Release Date: 1 Mar. 2003
- Label: Virgin UK
- Copyright: ℗ This Compilation 1993 Virgin Records Ltd © 1993 Virgin Records Ltd
- Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
- Total Length: 1:13:42
- ASIN: B001J71S4K
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
102,145 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
- #19495 in Rock Albums