Monday, 1 February 2016

Loudon Clear

"Haven't Got the Blues Yet" by Loudon Wainwright III

You don't have to be male, or middle-aged, or clinically depressed to love this song. If you're just privileged and lucky (that's me!) and if you value self-mockery and are prone to introspection (that's me, too!), I don't see how you can't love it.

Mr. Wainwright has been making funny, tuneful, honest, and moving music since the 1970s (has also sired a few very musically adept children, the best known of whom is probably Rufus Wainwright; see He can do country, folk, jazz, and, as he does here, the blues. He's most often with other musicians on his albums, but when he performs live, it's usually just his guitar and his reedily engaging tenor voice. Back in those long-ago '70s, I saw him at the old El Mocambo in Toronto (is that place still around?), and pretty well immediately after he took the stage, he owned the whole audience. It was a great, hammy, hilarious performance (just like the one he gives in the linked video); I remember that my face actually hurt for a while after he finished because I'd severely strained every last one of its smile- and laugh-muscles. 

He's a gem, and so is this song, with all its gemmy, funny lyrics. My favourite lines: My life isn’t tragic/But it’s still a doggone shame/That I’m not the man I used to be/Though we’re genetically the same. (Okay, I'll admit that an appreciation of this song might, after all, get a bit of boost if you're male and middle-aged.)

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