Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Loudon Wainwright III: Loudon Wainwright III [Atlantic, 1970]
Wainwright writes with more precision and imagination than any other singer-songwriter of the current boom, and his melodies stick with you. He sings and plays with such authority that even though this record features only voice and acoustic guitar it's powerful musically. But. The failures of the talented are always painful, and this is very strained. He's smart enough to integrate syntactical contortions into his style, and to match them vocally, but they still make you wince sometimes. And there's no emotional maturity to go with the verbal control, no sense of kindness or ease. I enjoy this record quite a bit, but I admire it more, and sometimes I don't like it at all. B-