I started with Loudon Wainwright's Unrequited. Though the front cover shows Wainwright looking positively pained, a tear streaming down his forlorn face, the back cover is a completely different story: all shits and giggles, which perfectly complements the live nature of the album's second side. Who knows what Loudon was crying about? Maybe he simply preferred live performances over studio work. I share the feeling.
I purchased this album at Tunes in Hoboken, New Jersey. I was torn between it and two other Wainwright albums: I'm Alright and T Shirt. All three were in excellent condition. I decided to go with Unrequited because it was the oldest (1975) and because it closed with a song called "Rufus is a Tit Man," and I needed to know what that was all about.
Of course, it's about his son. Which, like all of my favorite art, is sort of tragic and sort of funny. Rufus Wainwright is gay, you see, and one might imagine that, for him, the song was more than mere art. I've been told that Rufus wasn't happy about it. Understandable. However, if my dad had written a song called "Stephen is a Tit Man," I'd be pretty overjoyed. Proud, even.
Put Rufus to the left of her and put me on the right
And like Romulus and Remus, we'll suck all night
I mean, come on, how could you not like that?
Three songs into this album, you'll hear funk in "Sweet Nothings," reggae in "The Lonely Tourist," country in "Kings and Queens," and, in "Kick In The Head," you'll realize where Ryan Adams found his timbre and sway.
From Loudon, I moved on to Willie Nelson.