Older Than My Old Man by Loudon Wainwright

The title says it all. Wainwright has outlived his father a successful and respected writer/editor for Life magazine and gone on to create his own unique place in the world. This time around Loudon has truly taken stock of his life – the good, the bad, relationship problems, career highlights and lows, family dysfunction and what it means to be staring death in the face.

After a couple of listens this album really sinks in and some of the songs linger on long after hearing them. Wainwright uses his black humour, wit and honesty in an even more biographical than usual collection of songs. Several members of the Roche–Wainwright clan (Martha and Rufus amongst others) help out on supporting vocals as well as heroes like Ramblin’ Jack Elliot and the theatrical talents of Barry Humphries to name a few. There are lashings of humour (‘Meds’, ‘I Remember Sex’, ‘The Here and Now’, ‘10’), poignancy (‘Over the Hill’, co-written with Kate McGarrigle in 1975) and some deep thinking. ‘Somebody Else’ is a reflection upon the death of those close and the haunting last track ‘Something’s Out to Get Me’ is a realisation by Wainwright that his time will come too.

The arrangements are extremely well done and in addition to Wainwright’s guitar there are touches of harmonica, cello piano and saxophone. This is an engaging, mature and very thoughtful piece of work.

Paul Barr is from Readings Carlton