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BBC SESSIONS

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Audio CD
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Editorial Reviews

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Loudon Wainwright III may be the American Beauty of singer-songwriters. No, he's never swept award shows (really only had one "hit," "Dead Skunk," in 1972), but he does paint a revealing (and sometimes haunting) portrait of the middle-aged male's brain. And, just like the movie, he leaves you smiling. The BBC Sessions shows Wainwright's evolution from a Dylan-indebted folksinger to suburban troubadour in fine fashion. These live takes--spanning 1971 to 1993--are far from polished, but they capture the artist at his solo, melancholic best. The medley featuring "I Know I'm Unhappy," "Suicide Song," and "Glenville Reel" is an obvious highlight, while his stripped-down takes of "The Swimming Song" and "Men" are simply endearing. The spoken word of "I Wish It Was Me" and cocky tunes such as "Nice Guys" have never revealed Wainwright at his best, but on this probing disc, even they somehow fit. --Jason Verlinde

Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Varese Sarabande
  • ASIN: B00004STOC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #421,609 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Blake Watson on November 14, 2000
Format: Audio CD
A good cross-section of raw Loudon. There are better albums for the uninitiated ("History" is probably his best studio album, "Career Moves" his best live-before-audience album) but this collection has a lot to recommend it, especially for the fan. (The only thing lacking, really, is that these are live performances without the feedback a large, liive audience would give, and Loudon's handling of audiences is definitely an important aspect of his talent.)
"Sunday Times", "I Wish It Were Me" and "It's Love And I Hate It" aren't available on his other albums and a lot of the songs which suffered from over-production on his albums (like "A.M. World", "East Indian Princess", and to a lesser extent "Prince Hal's Dirge") are given a cleaner treatment here.
The album is arranged in chronological order based on when the songs were performed, not when they were written. As the album progresses, Loudons voice gets less reedy and nasal and takes on a richer, more expressive tone. This renders particulrly poignant the late entry of "School Days", which was the first song on his first album, only now being sung some 25 years later, by a man old enough to be the song author's father.
Given the fact that LW3 has recorded enough songs live for BBC radio to fill many, many CDs, we can only hope this leads to further volumes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Søren Helmer on August 10, 2000
Format: Audio CD
After a long life in and out of the music business, it is surely a rare thing to stumble over an artifact such as this. It is of course a compilation, but what a compilation. It will take you all the way around your emotional register, and somewhere along the way leave you bewildered and wondering, if this in fact was one album or several "best of's". the first couple of times I listened to the album, I felt like way back when I first heard Randy Newman, and he has been following me ever since. I am now the proud owner of many Loudon albums, and I will not stop untill I have them all. I am amazed that no has reviewed this album before, but go ahead...it is not hard to find all the positive adjectives in your vocabulary, and throw them in the air. Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Penny L Guisinger on April 23, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I just picked up the BBC Sessions (only my second LWIII album, and certainly not my last) the other day and I find that I can't play it enough! As soon as I get to the end of the last song, I find that I'm ready to hear the first one again. the guitar playing is amazing and the lyrics are witty and sincere. The recording is so intimate: it feels like the man is right here in my living room. Wow..... I love this record.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Starhead on October 8, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I don't know a whole lot about Loudon Wainwright III, and this is the first album of his I've ever bought... after listening to it several times I have really come to feel that there are some true gems in this collection. He doesn't think in a straight line & he tackles some funny and dark subjects with humor & depth. I guess his voice and guitar playing take a little (OK, a lot) of getting used to, but I will go back to these songs. A weak four stars, but if you are interested in this kind of stuff it's definitely worth getting.
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