By the time of Attempted Mustache’s 1973 release Loudon Wainwright III had been kicking around for some time, releasing several critically acclaimed folk albums throughout the early 70s. One of Loudon’s finest efforts, the LP is a loose, low key, affair with brutally honest lyrics coupled with a few shambolic, drunken performances that are highly entertaining. So while the playing and atmosphere is relaxed, this LP features some of Loudon’s best loved songs—a few that rank as true classics. Columbia released Attempted Mustache just as Loudon was just coming off the fluke hit “Dead Skunk.”

The album opens with “Swimming Song,” a very personal composition with clever lyrics. For this track Loudon’s ex-wife taught him how to pick the banjo. Towards the end Doug Kershaw adds some wonderful colors with his superb fiddle work. All in all, a brilliant performance that captures the man at the top of his game. Other great numbers are “A.M. World” (drunken country-rock), “Come A Long Way” (fragile Americana), “Nocturnal Stumblebutt” (sexually charged singer-songwriter nonsense) and “Lullaby” (melancholy folk-rock). These tracks rank as some of the finest unsung singer-songwriter material from the era but the humorous, looser cuts such as the live, talking-blues of “I Am The Way”, the modern/indie sounding “Dilated To Meet You” and rocker “Clockwork Chartreuseare” are almost as good.

More of a hard luck hero than a James Taylor, Loudon more than delivers the goods on Attempted Mustache. words / j. nardelli

MP3: Loudon Wainwright III :: Swimming Song
MP3: Loudon Wainwright III :: Lullaby
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7 Responses to “Loudon Wainwright III :: Attempted Mustache”

  1. LW3 is one of my very favorite artists, thank you for posting this. However The Swimming Song never seemed to be a very personal song of his especially when compared to songs about missing his daughter’s birthday “Five Years Old”, spanking his son Rufus in “Hitting You” or the many songs about his father such as “Surviving Twin”.

    People who like “Lullaby” should check out the new version he did for the movie Knocked Up with Richard Thompson on guitar.

  2. love love LOVE this album. i cover the swimming song at nearly every one of my shows – perhaps my favourite song EVER. thanks for letting the world know that this one is out there.

  3. What about “The Man Who Couldn’t Cry”? That one’s brilliant.

  4. I just clicked on the affiliate link and downloaded the album. It never really occurred to me, that when one purchases music from a recommended website such aquariumdrunkard, this is the optimum route to take. Often when I do this, I go straight to itunes or amazon to purchase the music without thinking. By clicking on the affiliate link provided by the website, you’re giving a tiny bit back to all of the hard work that these guys put into creating a fantastic website. Just wanted to share with you something that I don’t normally think about, but will in the future.

  5. Speaking of Loudon’s ex-wife … Kate & Anna McGarrigle’s 1975 cover of Swimming Song is, to my ears, even better than the original!

  6. no doubt. all solid tracks.

  7. This is a great and under appreciated album. The bite and kick of the songs kind of reminds a bit of David Bromberg with the song Clockwork Chartreuse being as harsh, rough and funny as anything I’ve heard in a while.

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