Picks and Pans Review: I'm Alright

updated 01/20/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/20/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

Loudon Wainwright III

There really isn't much precedent in popular music for Wainwright, unless you count obscure singers of the Biff Rose ilk (he was a '60s pianist and raconteur). When it comes to sardonically clever folk tunes, Wainwright has pretty much had the field to himself for more than 15 years. I'm Alright, on which he works once again with British guitarist Richard Thompson, is one of his better albums. Though his stylistic experiments (blues on the title track, Rudy Vallee swank on Lost Love) are approached condescendingly, they are rescued by his dry sense of humor. Who else would write a song about moving called Cardboard Boxes and back it with a melody reminiscent by turns of Rawhide and the Banana Boat Song? Wainwright had two children with his former wife, singer Kate McGarrigle, and recorded songs for both of them. He continues that tradition with a lovely lullaby, Screaming Issue, written for his most recent child with singer Suzzy Roche. Wainwright will never get rich with his brand of manic folk music (his only hit was Dead Skunk in 1973). But it's nice to have him around. (Rounder)

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