A Conference, a Loudon Wainwright album, and a Question.

by Harry on March 23, 2006

I’m going to be in Boston on Saturday for a conference on Equality and Education, with papers by Debra Satz, Elizabeth Anderson, and me and Adam Swift, plus commentators. It should be very good; I’m looking forward to what Anderson and Satz have to say. I presume from the fact that there’s a webpage about it that it is open; whether so or not I always like meeting readers and hearing their complaints…

On unrelated news I got a lovely packet the other day from a former student, containing a signed copy of Loudon Wainwright III’s Here Come the Choppers. I mention LWIII in every class I teach, on the grounds that if they learn nothing else, they ought to know who LWIII is. The accompanying letter says

Likely you don’t remember me, as I was only a (mostly unmemorable) student in one of your classes 3 or 4 years ago. However, one thing you did was introduce me the the music of LWIII. I’ve always remembered that, and my life is better for it. Here is his latest CD, signed, and sent with my regards.

I do remember him, in fact, and am very touched by the gift. Even better, this is LW’s best in years; not as good as History or Album III, but his best in decade. Maybe the competition is doing him good.

The question. I’ve wondered for about 15 years whether the Chaim Tannenbaum who plays on many of Loudon Wainwright’s albums is the same Chaim Tannenbaum who is acknowledged in “The Structure of Proletarian Unfreedom”. If none of our readers can enlighten me, I’ll give up wondering.



Jimmy Doyle 03.23.06 at 12:12 pm

I doubt it; neither name is particularly rare among Jewish people.

Knowing Cohen, though, it’s perfectly possible.


harry b 03.23.06 at 12:17 pm

I have more reasons than the fact they have the same name to suspect they are identical with each other….but nothing that is more than circumstantial. Belle?


Andrew Brown 03.23.06 at 1:15 pm

The chaim tannenbaum who plays on the McGarrigle Family Album is certainly a philosopher when he’s not being a musician, if that helps. It does sound as if they might be the same guy.


Scott Eric Kaufman 03.23.06 at 1:31 pm

The funniest moment on the most (and only) painful episode of Undeclared: When Loudon, as Hal Karp, picks up Marshall’s guitar and serenades Adam Sandler. Good times, good times. (Sorry for the random bit; I’d answer the other question if only I knew, um, the answer.)


Tom T. 03.23.06 at 7:41 pm

This is some elaborate gag that I’m not hip enough to, right? Let me guess: Loudon Wainwright III and Chaim Tannenbaum are the real names of Bono and The Edge?


Belle Waring 03.23.06 at 8:41 pm

hey, Loudon is my cousin, you know. I rarely see him but I’ll ask my mom to ask. and tom t.,if you think Loudon Wainwright III is a joke, just come on and have a chat with my cousin Stuyvesant Wainwright V.


harry b 03.23.06 at 9:46 pm

That’s why I asked you, Belle. But it did occur to me that even he might not know (and that even Jerry might not know) if the mysterious CT (if he is indeed a single person) keeps those sides of his life sufficiently separate. I was hoping that someone else with better connections than I had been curious before and found it out. Please do ask your mum to ask, though.


Tom T. 03.24.06 at 8:00 am

I’m sorry, Belle; I didn’t realize he was family. It’s just that both names, particularly taken together, sound so incongruous in the context of modern music.


Andrew Brown 03.24.06 at 12:40 pm

Sorry — not the McGarrigle Family Album — the McGarrigle Hour. From the sleeve notes: “Chaim, the working Philosophy professor, has managed a simultaneous second career as a session and touring musician. But now we find he’s been a secret songwriter as well….” (of track 20, “Time on my hands”.)

Comments on this entry are closed.