Loudon Wainwright III: Older Than My Old Man Now (Proper)

 |   |  1 min read

Loudon Wainwright III: The Here and Now
Loudon Wainwright III: Older Than My Old Man Now (Proper)

On the second song here the venerable Wainwright names his "favourite protagonist. Me" and that song follows the autobiographical The Here and Now in which he counts down marriages, failures, kids and his career.

And then there is the title track which is about his father, but equally about himself.

If anyone can write this convincingly and often about himself/family/etc -- and he has done it most of his career -- it is the ever-observant, often self-lacerating Wainwright (who sometimes doesn't spare others either).

This album is about "the heavy shit" -- aging, mortality, medications to counter the pain and the final end -- but of course he brings that wry folksiness, a lightness of touch and humour to these matters. And even has Dame Edna guest on the piano ballad I Remember Sex as the other half of an aged couple. It's funny. Once.

Ramblin' Jack Elliott ("perhaps my formost musical father figure") joins him on Double Lifetime ("I don't want to snuff it, three score and 10 just ain't enough") and elsewhere his children Rufus and Martha join him, as do various extended Wainwright/Roche family members.

He also revisits the one song he wrote with his late former wife Kate McGarrigle, the very beautiful Over the Hill -- which was penned back in '75 but is also about the sands of timing running out. It is genuinely moving. 

But a jaunty piano piece about taking The Meds, the Dame Edna duet, musing on losing a day crossing the international dateline, a song from beyond the grave (Ghost Blues) and others are the kinds of pieces which you'd be pleased to hear in a concert and would raise a smile or laugh or a sage head nod.

But they hardly bear much revisiting on an album.

However The Days That We Die (like the title track opening with a beautiful and moving spoken word piece by his late father, a Life columnist) will stop you in your tracks as a meditation on the lost relationship.

We will all have to deal with the inevitability of death in our various ways.

Wainwright here chooses glib or black humour ("that something out to get me is out to get you too"). And through flashes of insight. The few of the latter are by far the most successful here.

There is an interview with Loudon Wainwright at Elsewhere here.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Barry Saunders: Far As The Eye Can See (Ode)

Barry Saunders: Far As The Eye Can See (Ode)

More than just a compilation of tracks from his various albums and radio sessions (including some from his excellent Zodiac album), this collection of songs by country-inflected singer-songwriter... > Read more

Males: Run Run Run/MalesMalesMales (Fishrider)

Males: Run Run Run/MalesMalesMales (Fishrider)

Attuned to elevating West Coast USA pop – with a twist of power-pop in the manner of the close-harmony Shoes – this Dunedin duo here add an early single (the likably chipper,... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

40 YEARS OF THE NEW ZEALAND MUSIC CHARTS (2015): Pub quiz time, folks

40 YEARS OF THE NEW ZEALAND MUSIC CHARTS (2015): Pub quiz time, folks

Some weeks ago when it was clear there would be some celebration of four decades of official music charts in New Zealand, one of those researching it asked me a question which stumped me. What... > Read more

Mendocino, California: Life in the mellow lane

Mendocino, California: Life in the mellow lane

The Sir Douglas Quintet out of Texas didn't have too many hits in the 60s but they cracked one successful and catchy single as the decade drew to a close. The band sprung the biggest hit of their... > Read more