A fine collection of sweet and funny songs (+ a free download!)

Loudon Wainwright III is an actor, a humorist, a singer-songwriter (one of many “New Dylans”), and the father of Rufus and Martha Wainwright and Lucy Wainwright Roche. He’s best known for his 1972 composition “Dead Skunk” and his guest appearances (as Captain Calvin Spaulding) on M*A*S*H. But LW3’s got more than that to recommend him, and Shout! Factory’s new box set, 40 Odd Years, is a great argument for his whole, off-kilter catalog.

The four-CD set kicks off in 1969, brings us up to the present, and comes with a DVD that includes Wainwright’s appearances on Austin City Limits and Saturday Night Live, and an hour-long Dutch documentary. (Among other things, the Wainwrights are direct descendants of New Netherland’s last governor, Peter Stuyvesant.) The obligatory rarities-and-live-performances disc features one duet with his late wife, Kate McGarrigle; another with Lucy Wainwright Roche’s mother, Suzzy; and a new song (“Dead Man”) that you can download by clicking on the link below.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. A fine collection of sweet and funny songs (+ a free download!)