On the aptly titled”I’d Rather Lead a Band,” Loudon Wainwright III adopts a role much more retro than the one he’s carved out as a conservative troubadour, placing his guitar apart to combine with the’20s — the 1920s.
Wainwright makes such a dancing band crooner because he revives substance by Irving Berlin, Fats Waller, and Frank Loesser, amongst others. For any children who may hear, this is their great-great-grandparents’ songs, which clarifies why the reference to a Gatling gun.
Wainwright is ably backed by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, and as the band is tight, older Loudon is loose. He hams it up using the same comic timing which has served his tunes so well for the previous half-century. This makes him the perfect interpreter of”I Will Give It To Mary With Love,” lascivious, humorous obscurity that will make Cardi B blush.
A number of the other tunes are somewhat more recognizable, such as”Ain’t Misbehavin'” and”Heart and Soul,” and virtually everything swings thanks to structures highlighted by muted horns, creamy winds, and a lot of hi-hats. Wainwright sings about fidelity, forgiveness as well as also the results of a kiss, that suggests that the romance dancing has not changed considerably from the past century or so.