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40 Odd Years
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  • Liner Note Authors: Judd Apatow; Loudon Wainwright III; David Wild.
  • Illustrators: Cathy Balme; Rick Meyerowitz.
  • Photographers: Milton Kramer; Thea Lander; David Gahr; Peter Cunningham; Peter Christ; Michael Wilson ; John Hooper; Hugh Brown ; Marshall Fallwell; Lee Friedlander; Danny Clinch; Phil Geiger.
  • Loudon Wainwright III has enjoyed a long, fruitiful career as a songwriter, performer, and actor. He's issued over 20 albums since his debut In 1970 (not including live or compilation records), and won a Grammy for High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project. As an actor, he appeared on three episodes in the third season of M*A*S*H, played a sminal role on the sitcom Undeclared, and appeared in no less than seven feature films. The music and the man are the twin subject of 40 Odd Years, a generous, beautifullty chronicled four-CD/ one-DVD box set by Shout Factory. Wainwright's fans with be delighted by the 92 tracks included on the CDs, divided into chronlogical categories -- 1969-1983; 1984-1995; 1996-2010 -- with a fourth disc of rare and unreleased material included that features live tracks, demos, a beautiful duet with late ex-wife Kate McGarrigle on "Weave Room Blues," a collaboration with Ireland's Boys of the Lough on "The Hardy Boys at the Y," and "At the End of a Lonely Day" with Suzzy Roche. There's also a new track cut for the box entitled "Dead Man." The compilation discs include virtually everything a Wainwright aficionado could wish for; it reflects the dizzying diversity of his songwriting in folk, blues, and pop traditions. The DVD offers the biggest surprise, however. Clocking in at over three hours, it features the Dutch television documentary One Man Guy, numerous BBC TV appearances, American television appearances on Austin City Limits and Saturday Night Live, as well as previously unreleased filmed concert appearances. Mainstream music fans can question why an artist who had only one Top 20 hit ("Dead Skunk" from Album III in 1972) would warrant such treatment. It's a moot point. Wainwright has notched a particular place in music history as an irreverent (to say the least), often politically incorrect satirist and agent provocateur who refuses to take himself too seriously; he's a gifted, topical songwriter who embodies American music's rich roots traditions, and has had a fanatical cult following during each of the last five decades; the last being one of his most active. 40 Odd Years also includes an authoritative historical liner essay by David Wild, and an introduction by box set co-producer, filmmaker Judd Apatow (who has collaboraterd with Wainwright on numerous occasions). This is the grail for fans, but it also belongs in every American community library, and as part of any "required listening" cirriculum. ~ Thom Jurek
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (p.77) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]his career retrospective is long on hilarious memoir..."

Spin (p.76) - "A cracked balladeer of domestic strife and baby-boom angst, Wainwright has purveyed his sardonic, self-lacerating folk songs to a growing cult..."

Record Collector (magazine) (p.100) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The career-spanning 87 songs here include brutal confessionals, insightful political commentary, unadorned emotional honesty and, yes, a healthy dose of absurdism and satire."
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