Loudon Wainwright sings in C

I was having dinner with friends recently and they started telling another guest that I was a massive Dylan fan. I confessed that I’d seen Dylan ten times, but it didn’t seem that many to me. I have one friend who’s nearly into three figures. Still, they got me thinking. Which other acts have I seen ten times or more? There aren’t many. Gaffa, a Nottingham band from the 70’s. REM, Elvis Costello and Richard Thompson. I’m into the teens for those three acts largely because they’ve been touring for so long. I first saw Thompson in 77, Costello in ’80 and REM in ’83.

The other act who should be on that list is Loudon Wainwright III. I’ve seen him eight or nine times. Loudon used to play Nottingham every year or two, but hasn’t been here this century. There was a show booked at the Royal Concert Hall a couple of years ago but it was cancelled because of a death in the family. Loudon is a great songwriter and a fantastic performer, much better than any of  his (frankly, all over-rated) children. He’s a master of irony and of the confessional song. His last few albums have been patchy (the latest is a tribute to Charlie Poole, ‘High, Wide and Handsome’) but I heard a new song recently which shows that he still has all of his talent, in spades. A rare piano song, ‘Another Song in C’ revisits one of his favourite themes, the break-up of a family. His own. This was recorded at Westhampton Beach, USA, last October 10th, at a joint show with Richard Thompson. Been too long since I saw a Thompson solo show too (seeing him with a band in January). Why don’t you bring the tour over here, guys?

Loudon Wainwright – Another Song In C

6 Replies to “Loudon Wainwright sings in C”

  1. This is a great, thought provoking post. I saw Loudon at Sheffield City Hall in about 1970 – supporting Soft Machine (it was a different world). I thought he was great but never had any urge to see him again.

    And I realize how few bands or acts I’ve seen even twice; though I did see Giant Sand twice in one night.

    The person I’ve seen most, I think, is Derek Bailey, but that’s cos I used to buy season tickets for Company Week and saw him 5 nights in a row.

  2. Thanks for dropping by, Geoff. Never got to see the Softs, though I’ve managed to see Kevin Ayers (a man who hates touring, and, indeed, work of any kind) twice. The two other acts I was near double figures with are Kevin Coyne and John Martyn, both of whom died too young.

  3. thanks for providing a link with L.W. singing this poignant moving song which we heard him singing at the York Opera House last month. Can`t find which of L.W.`s albums this song in C is on???
    The only act I have seen more than once is Mike Scott and the Waterboys, (my husband is a great fan)and we have seen him eight times. Should have been nine but the Leeds Kirkstall Abbey Concert with Hot House Flowers (a favourite of mine) was cancelled last month.

  4. LW3 hasn’t recorded Song in C yet, Liz. I was also at the Buxton Opera House gig, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Loved Lucy’s support set, too.

  5. I’m a great Loudon fan, too. Just love the man and his work. Saw him, in concert with Rufus, at the Royal Opera House in London this week (tickets were £100!) and they were both sensational. Can’t understand why he hasn’t recorded Another Song in C. Wish he would.

  6. I suspect it’ll be on the next album, David. The song wouldn’t have fitted on the last two, after all, since one was themed around the new depression and the other was all Charlie Poole covers…

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