Search - Loudon Wainwright :: Attempted Mustache

Attempted Mustache
Loudon Wainwright
Attempted Mustache
Genres: Folk, Pop
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

Originally released in 1973, Attempted Mustache found Loudon Wainwright undaunted by the utterly unexpected commercial success of what would prove to be the only hit single of his career--1972's "Dead Skunk." Recorded in N...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Loudon Wainwright
Title: Attempted Mustache
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sony
Original Release Date: 1/1/1973
Re-Release Date: 8/25/1998
Album Type: Original recording remastered
Genres: Folk, Pop
Styles: Traditional Folk, Contemporary Folk, Singer-Songwriters
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 074646525722

Originally released in 1973, Attempted Mustache found Loudon Wainwright undaunted by the utterly unexpected commercial success of what would prove to be the only hit single of his career--1972's "Dead Skunk." Recorded in Nashville with producer Bob Johnston (who'd previously worked with Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen), this reissue sports several of Wainwright's best-known songs, including the rollicking "The Swimming Song" (featuring him and his then wife, Kate McGarrigle, on twin banjos), the bitter "The Man Who Couldn't Cry," and the arch "Clockwork Chartreuse." Of historical note are two tunes penned for Wainwright and McGarrigle's then newborn son (and budding singer-songwriter), Rufus, the warm "Dilated to Meet You" and "Lullaby." --Billy Altman

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CD Reviews

A flawed Gem , but it sparkles nonetheless
jimnypivo | west of Chicago, USA | 09/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I first heard LW3, while attending college in 1972 . Karen, an intriguing lady of many talents from Yonkers made Turkish coffee and played Album II for me. I was hooked.

Thing about Loudon is you either love him, or you don't. By the measure of his financial success, the few fans he has are zealots-take a look at the reviews here at Amazon. These people LOVE the man.

I am proud to say I too am a Loudon zealot. Why? He's a damn fine songwriter, with a rapier-like wit and a good ear for a catchy tune. He has a particular talent for weaving the threads of melody, lyric and subject into a wonderful tapestry of song. He does this several times on `Attempted Moustache'.

Loudon's choice of subject (i.e., random violence in *A Clockwork Chartreuse*) many times is off-color, but always interesting. That's why some folk find his songs silly or self-absorbed. Indeed some of them are. Those of us who have followed LWIII for years have gone thru his many tragedies and few triumphs right alongside him. Listening to his painful and funny songs about divorce made mine almost endurable.

Loudon also rejoices in Life, as he does in the opening cut, `The Swimming Song, the perfect example of what Amazon reviewer and Loudon zealot, the aeolian kid', says is a song "you can't get it out of your head and keep on singing it to yourself". I hear Swimming Song and I'm humming it the entire day.

*The Man Who Couldn't Cry* is poignant, sad, describing Loudon's version of Tull's `all time loser'. Yes, Johnny Cash did record this song. As familiar with prison songs as he is, it's hard to imagine The Man in Black singing "he was beaten, bullied and buggered, and made to make license plates" with dignity.

If this disc has a flaw, it is that it was slapped together in Nashville over a three-day period with session musicians not familiar with `the Loudon Sound'.

Truer words were never spoken by Blake Watson, another Amazon reviewer, when he says "even the "throwaways" on this album are '70s Loudon at his rakish best:" *Down Drinking in the Bar* is classic LWIII.

*Bell Bottom Pants* very 70s, is like a fungus. It grows on you.

The aeolian kid captured precisely what the song `Liza' did to me. Like it did to the Kid, It "seeped into my soul, and stayed there - digging down deep, taking root." For years I absolutely hated that song, wincing as I heard it. But as time went on, I began to appreciate Loudon's creative gift of witty verse in a sing-song mantra, like an Eastern holy man might pray to his Higher Power.

It's this multi-dimensional aspect of the Loudon Wainwright experience that is so appealing. You may not like the song today, but in a few years you just might

If Loudon's new to you, this is the disc to start with."
Mustache ride
Ike Turner | Cincinnati, OH | 06/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It's only 1973 and Loud-o is already on his fourth and arguably most accomplished LP. Loudon's first two albums were largely solo, acoustic affairs, an event that fans still consider to be a blessing. After all, a singer-songwriter is at his most effective in an intimate setting, right? Maybe, maybe not. His next album was to be about 50-50, half-electric, half-acoustic.

On "Attempted Mustache", Loud-o goes balls out with a band who sound somewhat reserved in the mix, but curiously pissed off when you really listen to how hard they're playing. Mr. Wainwright disagrees about the mix, thinking it doesn't do justice to his vocals. He has a point, as his words have always been at the forefront of what any student of language has to say. But despite a larger vocal presence, his rhyme still hits hard.

This record is at times raw and reckless, and still somehow poignant and touching. His ironic mean streak comes though loud and clear on "Clockwork Chartreuse", a vicious rocker and sly nod to the similarly-titled Stanley Kubrick film, while his softer, more gentle persona still rings through with tongue-in-cheek, yet heartfelt songs to his recently born children. "Nocturnal Stumblebutt" may seem like a tribute to late-nighters everywhere but is, in fact, about a desperate search for cigarettes in the middle of the night whilst trying not to disturb a sleeping mate. "Down Drinking at the Bar" is an anthem for anyone who has ever cared about an individual more interested in consuming a glass of beer at the local watering hole than their suitor. Hardly the stuff of a typical early-70s singer-songwriter. Loud-o's original version of "The Man Who Couldn't Cry" makes its debut here, a tune covered effectively many years later by Johnny Cash, but Wainwright's rendition may have the edge after all.

Do yourself or a friend a favor and add this record to your collection. Fans of intelligent, clever and even smirky folk-pop will treasure it."
Solid, but a few too many forgettable songs
pb | Georgia | 11/24/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Full disclosure: I was introduced to Wainwright when I heard "The Swimming Song" on a mixtape. I bought this album shortly thereafter, and I haven't investigated him since. So this review is for folks who are coming to this album from a similar context, not fans who are already sold on Wainwright's style.

Anyhow -- "Swimming Song" is fantastic. The banjo-plucking is top-notch, the melody is an instant winner, and the lyrics swerve between funny and depressing. And none of the other songs on here are as good, although about half of them come close.

Understandable, since the music walks a line between ragged-but-right and just plain ragged. Think Mulswell Hillbillies-era Kinks or The Band, but a bit sloppier than either. Unfortunately, Wainwright's clever lyrics are done a disservice when the music gets too loose, as it does on "I am the Way" and a couple of other tracks.

I can understand someone finding the unpolished sound charming, a nice dose of variety. But to my ears, Attempted Mustache doesn't mix poetic lyrics and boisterous folk-rock as convincingly as the best albums by Dylan, Cohen, or Waylon."