This album, Loudon's 1970 debut release, is most similar to Album II due to the sparse instrumentation and melancholy tone. He's young, self-absorbed, and full of emotion and a histrionic whine. That aside, this album, and his early material in general, runs circles around just about any contemporary singer-songwriter.
While his humor isn't as prominent on this album as it is later on, it still exists on songs like "Uptown", a song about living in squalor in lower Manhattan. For the most part, though, the songs are brutally honest and poignant, a characteristic that Loudo sharpened in subsequent releases. "School Days" and "Glad to See You've Got Religion" are stand-outs in that department.
After listening to handfuls of his other albums, this is a bit of an anachronism. It's got all the qualities that Loudon's come to be known for, though the songwriting just isn't quite as sharp yet. But that youthful forcefulness, the freshness in his voice, the obvious desire to be recognized- these are the things that make this album worth it.
Loudon Wainwright III - Album I
Fleet Foxes @ Hollywood Bowl
5 days ago