Loudon Wainwright - lead vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo, piano; Glen Mitchell - electric piano; Steve Tumey - organ; Richard Crooks - drums; John Crowder - bass; Ron Getlin - guitar
The father of two popular contemporary artists, Rufus Wainwright and sister, Martha, Loudon Wainwright III has made his mark as a beloved folk humorist. Usually accompanied by only his own acoustic guitar, banjo or a piano, Loudon Wainwright emerged in the early 1970s with a series of albums issued on Atlantic Records. In 1972, he moved to Columbia Records; they encouraged him to try and embrace a more radio friendly style of folk-rock. The result was the novelty hit, "Dead Skunk (In the Middle of the Road)," which was a Top 10 success and continues to show up today on many oldie radio playlists.
Though he tried, Wainwright would never equal that commercial success again. By 1976, he moved to the indie folk label, Rounder Records, which embraced his quirky, humor-filled songs. This recording features Wainwright alone for two thirds of the show. However, for the last seven songs, he is backed by an electric band, Slow Train, who had opened the show. Wainwright's high-pitched vocals sound somewhat odd when he is fronting a full rock band, but he certainly proves he can entertain in that format as well.
Vocally, he is a commanding presence, especially on the up-tempo rocker, "Watch Me Rock I'm Over Thirty." Wainwright recorded the show at the legendary Bottom Line club in Manhattan, on the second of a three-night stand. It was also cut for the weekly broadcast series "Live From The Bottom Line." This performance was captured when Wainwright was promoting Final Exam, which he released on Clive Davis' Arista label. The show's lone cover, a very funky and enjoyable remake of the Leiber-Stroller classic, "Smokey Joe's Cafe," is arguably the highlight. Another interesting track is the hysterical ode to his then-infant son's contentment during breast-feeding sessions: "Rufus Is A Tit Man." Wainwright spent most of the '80s and '90s releasing studio and live albums and continuing to perform to an enthusiastic cult following. He recently lived in London, where he made two LPs co-produced by British folk icon, Richard Thompson.