S/D: Richard Thompson

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My girlfriend broke out Richard Thompson's RUMOR AND SIGH yesterday, the only album of his I have (apart from SHOOT OUT THE LIGHTS). I was struck by how lame lots of it is and how much I still love "1952 Vincent Black Lightning". If the whole album was like that song, that would be somethin'.

So: what else by the man should I keep my eyes open for or completely ignore?

doug, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

i still like 'i want to see the bright lights' by richard & linda thompson. i don't know anything else though

gareth, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Bees Wing

anthony, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Second the recommendation of "I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight." Also search some early Fairport Convention, esp. Unhalfbricking, Liege & Lief, Full House.

Douglas, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

In order of essentialness . . .


Unhalfbricking Liege and Lief What We Did On Our Holidays (the first three are all pretty essential really) Full House


I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight Shoot Out the Lights Pour Down Like Silver Hokey Pokey

Solo Rich:

Across a Crowded Room Hand of Kindness Small Town Romance (solo acoustic live--pretty hard to find these days, I think) Daring Adventures

I more or less lost all interest after Amnesia . . .

lee g, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Search: "Genesis Hall" off Unhalfbricking, arguably the key British song of its period. As with Dylan's "Positively 4th Street", a song that, brilliant as it is, would be the most bitter and vitriolic and self-loathing thing EVER with the references to "I" and "you" reversed.

Robin Carmody, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Funny, I've always been largely underwhelmed at the Richard & Linda releases. I was listening to Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight and I just can't get into it...

Joe, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I also vouch for Rumour and Sigh. The first two tracks are awesome, as is "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" and "Grey Walls"; "Psycho Street" is Hilarious!
Yeah, Imagine if Tom Waits had a decent voice or if Eric Clapton had something even remotely like a sense of humour...Thats Richard Thompson in a nutsack.

Lord Custos, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

He did a pretty thrilling version of Joni Mitchell's 'Black Crow' on some TV tribute a year or so ago. I just discovered it recently on Audiogalaxy, s'verygood. Also search for a new one called 'I Agree With Pat Metheny' in which he fantasizes about shooting Kenny G in the face.

clotion, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

You don't have Shoot Out The Light? Damn, that's one of my fave records. Essential. Take Lou Reed's word on it.

helenfordsdale, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I know that wasn’t the question but RT = Classic for certain songs, a lot of guitar strangling and above all for the assertion of a thoroughly British Rock & Roll. I don’t have access to all his work but herewith a very personal selection from what I do have. I took the liberty of including Fairport Convention numbers RT didn’t write but played on. So Search:

-Fairport Convention
Meet On The Ledge
Sailor’s Life
Genesis Hall
Who Knows Where The Time Goes
Walk Awhile
All of Liege & Leif

-Post FC
The Poor Ditching Boy
All of I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight (except The Great Valerio)
For Shame Of Doing Wrong
Night Comes In
The Dimming Of The Day
Jet Plane In A Rocking Chair
Never Again
Calvary Cross (live)
Wall Of Death
Shoot Out The Lights*
Bogie’s Bonnie Belle
When The Spell Is Broken*
Little Blue Number*
From Galway To Graceland
Tear Stained Letter
1952 Vincent Black Lightning
Feel So Good

+ the lead guitar on Nick Drake’s The Thoughts of Mary Jane (Time Of No Reply version)

(* made it just for the guitar playing)

Sorry for losing the chronology there.

David, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Tear Stained Letter is great, especially when he's in a rocking mood live. Other stuff features some lovely guitar playing, some folksy noodling, some terrific songs, some middle-aged sexism.

Martin Skidmore, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

In addition to all the good stuff already mentioned, I like the pre- Sandy Denny Fairport recordings, esp. their BBC sessions - much more West Coast psych folk pop than their later recs. And the album RT made w/ Henry Kaiser, Fred Frith and John French - 'Live, Love, Larf and Loaf' - is good fun muso jam stuff (the silly sods do a really, really poor version of 'Surfin' USA' at one point...)

Andrew L, Tuesday, 5 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

'A HEART NEEDS A HOME' is one of my all-time favourite bleak heartbreak songs. 'THE END OF THE RAINBOW' ("I feel for you, you little horror/Safe at your mother's breast/No lucky break for you around the corner/'Cause your father is a bully/And he thinks that you're a pest/And your sister she's no better than a whore.") is one of my all-time favourite bleak songs.

'An introduction to Richard and Linda Thompson' on Island(?) is a good starting place.

Edna Welthorpe, Mrs, Tuesday, 5 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

"Has He Got A Friend For Me" from R<'s IWTSTBLT is the only song I have have ever heard played on the radio that made the DJ cry afterwards.

David, Tuesday, 5 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

one month passes...
excuse me, did someone say richard thompson? why, he's the only thing i've been listening to for the past month...well, he and andrew w.k. search: i want to see the bright lights tonight, shoot out the lights, "roll over vaughn williams," "for shame of doing wrong," "a heart needs a home," "dimming of the day," "jennie," and the 7 minute live version of "calvary cross" (not the execrable 13 or so minute vers.)

destroy: i dunno, the rest? mirror blue led to one of bob christgau's best dismissive reviews "i thought she loved me but she didn't--why does this keep happening?"

fred solinger, Tuesday, 16 April 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

one year passes...
revive, just because

BLACKOUT '03! (Jody Beth Rosen), Thursday, 21 August 2003 17:57 (nineteen years ago) link

'Mirror Blue' is horribly underrated, as is 'You Me Us'. some striking songs on those two, along with some invetive production.

The latest, 'The Old Kit Bag', is incredible, and possibly the best combo of production and songs since 'Shoot Out The Lights'. It's honestly that good.

oh, I love Thompson. oh, and Great Valerio is SO KEY. lies!

derrick (derrick), Friday, 22 August 2003 06:19 (nineteen years ago) link

Has anyone seen his 1,000 years of music show? He's playing at Sadler's Wells next month.

James Ball (James Ball), Friday, 22 August 2003 07:49 (nineteen years ago) link

One of the best gigs I've ever seen in my life was yer man Thommo. Probably the best guitarist i've ever seen in my life.

Dadaismus (Dada), Friday, 22 August 2003 11:52 (nineteen years ago) link

First proper gig I ever went to was RT, promoting "Hand of Kindness", and it was fantastic even though he wouldn't play Devonside for some reason (one of the band yelled "we don't do that one" in response to half the audience yelling for it during every break between songs).

Billy Bragg was supporting, and he was pretty good too.

Andrew Norman, Friday, 22 August 2003 13:15 (nineteen years ago) link

nine months pass...
i like "first light" a lot too

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:03 (eighteen years ago) link

I've been enjoying the reissues of "Pour Down Like Silver" and
"Hokey pokey". "Hand of Kindness" is indeed marvellous, too.
Hopefully "First Light" and "Sunnyvista" are soon to come
(come on island). "Henry the Human Fly" too. These I still
have to hear, but I doubt I'll dislike them (I've liked every record I've heard which featured Mr Thompson, eg Sandy Denny's solo records, Morris On, Albion Band etc).
I'm still kind of fascinated and bemused by his popularity in America. Not sure if I should be, or anything.

de, Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:17 (eighteen years ago) link

i think "first light" was originally released on chrysalis. am i wrong? i have no idea who owns the rights now. the only lp originally released on hannibal was "shoot out the lights," and that's still in print. "sunnyvista"...i have no idea what the situation is with that one.

those reissues are really pricey (in the states) and i am allergic to arbitrary bonus tracks.

"henry the human fly" is underrated. i like it as much as the records that followed. it is going to be reissued later this month, so head's up.

he has a sizable following in the states partly because he is a very dependable concert artist.

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:21 (eighteen years ago) link

yup, title track to "first light" definitely rules

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:27 (eighteen years ago) link

it's one those songs that trades in deliberate ambiguity: is it a devotional song or a romantic song? see also "heart needs a home" ... "beat the retreat" ... etc.

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:31 (eighteen years ago) link

Ah thanks for the tip on "Henry". No the island reissues have
been comfortingly midpriced here, and are definitely worth it for the sound alone, but the live bonuses are pretty nifty.

"Shoot Out the Lights" hasn't been mentioned much on here; it is
excellent, but the R & L sound is more 'generic' than those 72-75 records, which have a ripe, sweet feel to them that "Shoot" tramples down. It's 'mature rock'. But bloody good.

de, Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:33 (eighteen years ago) link

i was surprised to find i liked Liege & Lief a lot less than i expected to. three or four of the songs are fantastic, but there are large parts of the album that make me picture morris dancers in my head and i can't cope

the surface noise is generally somewhere between 'in some spots' and 'throu (ele, Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:34 (eighteen years ago) link

think of the 'morris music' as english sufi music....or summat.
i love it anyway

de, Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:36 (eighteen years ago) link

"shoot out the lights" is some kind of pinnacle of rock songwriting. i used to be put off a bit by the relative slickness of the arrangements, as opposed to the more eccentric instrumentation of "i want to see..." but i think i value the later lp more nowadays.

also i still have really mixed feelings about linda's voice.

i've never seen a morris dance. the illustrations of "burr men" etc. on "liege and lief" are ace. but overall my love for fairport has really waned. i like "what we did on our holidays" and "unhalfbricking" more than "l&l" i think.

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:38 (eighteen years ago) link

I can't really seperate Fairport's 68-71 records; it's just a fantastic body of work that makes me happy. No dudness whatsoever.

de, Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:43 (eighteen years ago) link

ts: "walking on a wire" vs. "comfortably numb"

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 04:10 (eighteen years ago) link

vs. "love hurts" (nazareth)

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 07:05 (eighteen years ago) link

I quite like "The Old Kit Bag", too, but I'm a big fan.

Search: ALL of the live "guitar vocal," especially the smoldering workouts on "Calvary Cross" and "Night Comes In." Song favorites: "When I Get To the Border," "I'll Regret It All in the Morning," "Beeswing."

Someone needs to compile a definitive list of RT's guest appearances (actually, I'm sure some obsessive fan already has). Some nice ones: mandolin bit on John Martyn's "Over the Hill," the entire "Rise Up Like the Sun" album by the Albion Band, "Blackwaterside" off Sandy Denny's "Northstar Grassmen," "Claudy Banks" by Shirley Collins, SO many more.

Anybody rate the second French Frith Kaiser Thompson LP? I've never heard that one.

briania (briania), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 12:06 (eighteen years ago) link

The only one I really love is "Henry the Human Fly." I admire the man's other stuff, and having seen him live I can say he's great. But I don't listen to him at all, it's too dour for me or something. I regret this but that's the way it is.

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 17:54 (eighteen years ago) link

I have a live version of "Calgary Cross" that contains, I swear, perhaps the best guitar work I've ever heard.

shookout (shookout), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 20:18 (eighteen years ago) link

The one with Randy Bachman??

briania (briania), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 20:50 (eighteen years ago) link

six months pass...
Meet me at the station, don't be late
I need to spend some money and it just won't wait
Take me to the docks and hold me tight
I want to see the bright lights tonight

57 7th (calstars), Wednesday, 22 December 2004 22:04 (eighteen years ago) link

One step for aching
Two steps for breaking
Waltzing's for dreamers
And losers in love

Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Wednesday, 22 December 2004 22:12 (eighteen years ago) link

Is that the live version of Calvary Cross that's on the Island Introduction To...R&L CD? Not heard it, but I really need to, cos the guitar intro of the orginal is pretty fucking amazing. The Strat can be a bit bright and session muso-ish, but Thommo, along with the likes of Dick Dale, Hendrix, Niles Rogers and Alex Chilton knows exactly how to use it.
I'll get back to my Guitarist mag now.

stew, Wednesday, 22 December 2004 22:17 (eighteen years ago) link

I should add that the live version of Heart Needs A Home from some BBC TV show, is utterly beautiful and devastating. Shivers down the spine every time. It sums up exactly how I felt about someone. Sniff, sob.

stew, Wednesday, 22 December 2004 22:19 (eighteen years ago) link

You can waste your time on the other rides
But this is the nearest thing to being alive
Oh, let me take my chances on the Wall of Death

Ken L (Ken L), Wednesday, 22 December 2004 22:19 (eighteen years ago) link

Full House is the beginning of the end for Fairport, but it's still 100% necessary for 'Sloth'

(Jon L), Wednesday, 22 December 2004 22:25 (eighteen years ago) link

The second FFKT has some really neat stuff, maybe 2/3 is really quite good with the rest just kinda silly. It's worth picking up for >$20. It's out on Windham Hill, of all things, and probably out of print, sadly.

Good to hear love for 'The Old Kit Bag', which I'm still enjoying. The power trio really suits him, and it's nice to hear a Christine Collister-surrogate again. I'll Tag Along, Gethsemane, Pearly Jim, and Word Unspoken, Sight Unseen stand out the most. Mock Tudor, on the other hand, is, well, almost without redemption. It's his only album since Sunnyvista that I'd delete wholesale.

If possible, track down the live versions of When the Spell Has Broken and Aint Gonna Drag My Feet No More from the Watching The Dark collection(which should be on your x-mas list anyway).

derrick (derrick), Thursday, 23 December 2004 01:29 (eighteen years ago) link

You forgot my favorite live version of WTD, You Can't Win just absolutely smokes.

Jim Reckling (Jim Reckling), Thursday, 23 December 2004 02:30 (eighteen years ago) link

yes, yes it does!

derrick (derrick), Thursday, 23 December 2004 02:49 (eighteen years ago) link

I posted this on ILM before but it would be nice to have it on this page as well:


Ken L (Ken L), Thursday, 23 December 2004 03:32 (eighteen years ago) link

Oh, and "1000 Years of Popular Music" is absolutly incredible - the version of Cry Me a River on here is my favourite, and he pulls out loads of rockabilly and Cole Porter, and what I BELIEVE is a Noel Coward song. It's a lot better than this description.

Johnney B (Johnney B), Thursday, 23 December 2004 16:07 (eighteen years ago) link

What the...first, why have I not heard of 1000 Years of Popular Music until today, and second, how is his version of "Oops! I Did It Again"????

Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Thursday, 23 December 2004 16:12 (eighteen years ago) link

The "Watching the Dark" collection is excellent. I've only had it, "Shoot Out the Lights" and "Rumor and Sigh". I got all three over ten years ago and have listened to them quite a bit, but never got any more Thompson records.

That version of "Calvary Cross" must be the same one on the boxed set. "Devonside" is an amazingly sad song. "Great Valerio" is another favorite of mine.

Earl Nash (earlnash), Thursday, 23 December 2004 16:40 (eighteen years ago) link


“A Blind Step Away” is easily in my all time top ten RT songs

covidsbundlertanze op. 6 (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 02:03 (two years ago) link

That's a great one, also love "Drowned Black Dog Night". The whole thing is really great though, so many unexpected moments - I love how the "Surfin U.S.A." cover starts out pretty straight before going completely off the rails when the backing vocals kick in. The CD reissue adds a couple of other terrific songs, including "DrumBo Ogie", essentially an excuse for Drumbo to have a solo, and ends with cover of Willie Dixon's "The Same Thing" that is surprisingly straight-faced, considering the rest of the album.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 13:45 (two years ago) link

"DrumBo Ogie" is a great song title.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 15:05 (two years ago) link

There’s a live recording out there of French Frith Kaiser Thompson, maybe the only live show they did? It is great.

covidsbundlertanze op. 6 (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 14 April 2021 00:30 (two years ago) link

The first FFKT album is really one of my all-time favorites (and I discovered it by chance... it was misfiled at Amoeba, decades ago).

Yawnsomely Literal Cover Band (morrisp), Wednesday, 14 April 2021 00:50 (two years ago) link

Watch for Roy Eldridge - "Little Jazz!" - around the two minute mark, which segment was deleted in the South for some reason back in the day.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 14 April 2021 00:51 (two years ago) link

six months pass...

Frets and Refrains, RT's guitar and songwriting camp, is back for its 10th Anniversary, in 2022:
...We hope you will be able to join us for what should be a special year. We will be joined by a couple of our most popular teachers from the past, Martin Simpson and Jill Sobule, and we will have our regular instructors, Happy Traum, Sloan Wainwright, Teddy Thompson, Jack Thompson, Zak Hobbs, Bobby Eichorn, Simon Tassano, and Annaliese Tassano. We are also expecting some very special guests to drop by!

We are proud of the community that has built up over this decade of camp, and love the fact that you can learn so much from fellow attendees, and that the atmosphere is supportive of every level of skill. The setting is Full Moon resort, in the picturesque Catskill Mountains, the food is excellent, and if you are any level of singer, songwriter or guitarist, we guarantee you will come away enriched and buzzing with ideas!

I hope you will join us.

Best wishes,

Richard Thompson
and the Thompson family, Zak, Teddy and Jack

More info and links:

dow, Thursday, 28 October 2021 01:18 (one year ago) link

Any of yall heard Serpent's Tears? Only one track streaming freely here: https://richardthompson.bandcamp.com/

dow, Thursday, 28 October 2021 01:21 (one year ago) link

four months pass...

For 40th Anniversary of Shoot Out The Lights, two sets of R&T w Simon Nicol etc. in NYC, at the Lone Star: https://doomandgloomfromthetomb.tumblr.com/post/678799150803042304/richard-linda-thompson-lone-star-cafe-nyc

dow, Thursday, 17 March 2022 00:52 (one year ago) link

Richard Thompson
The 45th Anniversary re-issue of RT’s 1976 Collection of Rarities with Fairport Convention, Linda Thompson, and solo will be releasing 3/25.

This remastered vinyl will also contain a download card and is available for pre-order from RT’s UK store now at http://richardthompson-music.com/ukstorevinyl


dow, Tuesday, 22 March 2022 23:17 (one year ago) link

Also, No Quarter is reissuing his soundtrack to Grizzly Man on May 6th:

Excited to announce a reissue of Richard Thompson's masterful soundtrack to Grizzly Man available May 6th on CD, LP and digital formats. Music From Grizzly Man is a remastered/repackaged set containing all of the music Thompson recorded for the Werzer Herzog-directed documentary about life and death in the Alaskan wilderness. Comprised of both solo compositions and material recorded in chamber setting, with Jim O’Rourke (piano, guitar), Danielle DeGruttola (cello), Damon Smith (upright bass) and John Hanes (percussion) joining Thompson to create tenderly detailed melodies and quietly visceral improvisations. The solo recordings are intimate meditations – from the acoustic opener “Tim & The Bears” to the long night of “Treadwell No More,” a harrowing darkness in slicing treble and tremolo shiver.


a superficial sheeb of intelligence (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 23 March 2022 14:42 (one year ago) link

four weeks pass...

So Beeswing is out in paperback, and Terry Gross is talking to RT, even got him singing "Adieu, Adieu" (he's in a carpark, birdwatching)--stream, download, even read:
https://www.npr.org/2022/04/20/1093709649/fairport-convention-band-cofounder-richard-thompson-looks-back-on-his-life-in-mu Also, "you have a drone and melody and not an awful lot of saying what the chord is. And just drone and melody is a very old tradition. A lot of pipe music, bagpipe music from all around the world - it's basically drone and melody. So it's a very ancient thing. And you don't have to develop that into a chord structure necessarily. You can keep that ambiguity going. So in Fairport, eventually we really tried to do a lot more of that." Short excerpts, but good assortment so far. Going to break with "1952 Vincent Black Lightning."

dow, Thursday, 21 April 2022 00:31 (one year ago) link

Wow, this is intense. And lucid as hell.

dow, Thursday, 21 April 2022 00:43 (one year ago) link

Re "Adieu Adieu": there's a lovely version by Eliza Carthy that I rather like.

She's using the same melody as Thompson but it's an appealingly bonkers arrangement.


Fifty Centaur (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 21 April 2022 01:49 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

I interviewed Richard Thompson! https://aquariumdrunkard.com/2022/05/05/richard-thompson-the-aquarium-drunkard-interview-2/

tylerw, Thursday, 5 May 2022 15:59 (one year ago) link

Excellent interview

chr1sb3singer, Thursday, 5 May 2022 16:16 (one year ago) link


Wile E. Is President (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 5 May 2022 16:26 (one year ago) link

Thirded! That was great!

Anyone have any idea why Daring Adventures doesn't appear to be streaming?

Les hommes de bonbons (cryptosicko), Thursday, 5 May 2022 16:28 (one year ago) link

Great read. Thanks Tyler!

birdistheword, Thursday, 5 May 2022 16:34 (one year ago) link

Beeswing so good, although maybe it goes bad at the end as he described.

Wile E. Is President (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 5 May 2022 16:35 (one year ago) link


Was Hitler a Hobbit? (Tom D.), Thursday, 5 May 2022 17:40 (one year ago) link

Great interview. I recently picked up the expanded version of Dudu Pukwana's first solo album from 1968 or so, which has a whole extra disc of outtakes that includes a session with Thompson playing guitar. I guess he knew that whole crew of South African musicians working in London at the time, they introduced him to township music. You can tell listening to it that he's a bit out of his element, mostly plays kind of ragged rhythm parts. Certainly not his best playing but fun to hear.

yeah that is a great record — though yeah, Richard is pretty subdued on it, might not know it was him if he wasn't in the credits. I think Joe Boyd was involved with the Blue Notes, later got Chris McGregor to play on Bryter Later.

tylerw, Thursday, 5 May 2022 22:23 (one year ago) link

Yeah, thanks for interview T--also came across this last spring:

I just came across this passage in a chronicle of South Africa's Blue Notes interacting with European musos:

Now Cape Town meets Canterbury. This 2020 reissue (Dudu Phukwana & The “Spears”) from the indispensable Matsuli Music contains two albums: Dudu’s S.A.-only 1968 solo debut, which gives this package its misspelled name, plus a recently discovered session. Both feature Pukwana, McGregor, Feza, and Maholo, more S.A. expats (bassist Harry Miller, trombonist Jonas Gwangwa) and future members of the great London-based Ghanaian Afro-funk band Osibisa. Yet the newly found Joe Boyd-produced sessions add Fairport Convention guitarists Richard Thompson and Simon Nicol for freewheelin’ cross-cultural wonder. Highly swinging horn- and guitar-heavy Afro-pop and kwela grooves shed more light on Pukwana’s melodic brightness and his ability to bridge continental gaps without sacrificing personality.

― dow, Monday, April 12, 2021

dow, Friday, 6 May 2022 01:02 (one year ago) link

Yep! That's the one I just picked up on vinyl. Great, great stuff. The best is on the officially released album, but the outtakes are really good too.

great interview!

corrs unplugged, Friday, 6 May 2022 08:05 (one year ago) link

From Post-Fahey thread---thanks Evan!


Great stuff

― Evan, Friday, May 6, 2022

dow, Friday, 6 May 2022 18:19 (one year ago) link

Oh, very welcome! It's a beautiful record.

Evan, Friday, 6 May 2022 18:32 (one year ago) link

eleven months pass...

You can go with the crazy people in the crooked house

Because the Nighttoad (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 1 May 2023 10:14 (one month ago) link

Music From Grizzly Man was for what Werner Herzog made of and around the outrider Treadwell's own footage, minus the concluding gore: the music is the trees---on another 2022 release the Acoustic Trio shows how to do it one night in Hawaii, with the right songs in the right sequence, for instance.

dow, Tuesday, 2 May 2023 01:45 (one month ago) link

oh yeah

Mingus Eyes 06:04
Ghosts In The WInd 07:29
Crawl Back (Under My Stone) 08:35
Dad's Gonna To Kill Me 06:18
Hots For The Smarts 05:58
Bathsheba Smiles 04:21
Al Bowlly's in Heaven 05:52
Johnny's Far Away 05:20
Waltzing's For Dreamers 04:10
(I Want To See) The Bright Lights Tonight 03:27
Misunderstood 04:46
Shoot Out The Lights 06:48
One Door Opens 04:33

dow, Tuesday, 2 May 2023 01:47 (one month ago) link

Except "Hots For The Smarts" is too stupid, even if he's just testing us.

dow, Tuesday, 2 May 2023 01:49 (one month ago) link

was going to see him again in a couple of weeks, but life has gotten in the way.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 2 May 2023 02:04 (one month ago) link


Because the Nighttoad (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 2 May 2023 02:52 (one month ago) link

They say it’s the only thing worth living for.

Because the Nighttoad (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 2 May 2023 02:52 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

Sunday supplemental reading re RT: first. over on the current What Are You Reading thread, Electric Eden came up, and Chinaski said,

liked *Electric Eden*, though I think I felt like Daniel does about *The Magic Box*: it's a fantastic work of archaeology but the archival instinct is so all-consuming, it ultimately outruns itself. Or, less politely, it goes on a bit. I've just discovered the long-ass review I wrote about it, which, well, goes on a bit: https://www.thelineofbestfit.com/reviews/book-reviews/the-history-of-british-music-rob-youngs-electric-eden-36400

― Stars of the Lidl (Chinaski), Thursday, May 18, 2023

Excellent--- and I can see from your Young take, more than ever, that I'm going to have to read the damn book at some point(as well as Toop's)---and you end with the questions that your descriptions led me toward--as far as the possibility of a visionary pushing past-through nostalgia and intimations x certainty of a fraught future (we know the environmental factors as well or better than we care to, but not how and when things will shake out, though the timeline keeps bumping forward in latest projections), since this is ILB, I'll mention a writer who sure tries, if with mixed results, having his own struggles with nostalgia, and that is Kim Stanley Robinson.

I hope that Young cites Richard Thompson as a folk-rock songwriter who has never dealt much in nostalgia, except his occasionally overt conservative-reactionary tendencies could be a form of that, although never really "It used to be better dammit," more just disgust or sere vibe/sound, then on to something else. Occasional roots-work-outs are mainly for fun now, the scenic route to that (with a little mental cosplay if ye like).

― dow, Thursday, May 18, 2023 3:10 PM (three days ago) bookmarkflaglink

Thompson does build from the lyrical-lurid arterial trees of many ancient sources, pop artistry before pop (like Harry Smith turns into liner notes' tabloid headlines drawn from the musical contents of his Smithsonian Anthology). RT's "Beeswing" effectively (whatever his conscious intention) comments on the possible consequences of this kind of appetite, incl. on male collector-questlovers, as the waltzing wild child, now seen as increasingly self-destructive, keeps telling the earnest ex-bf narrator, "You wouldn't have me any other way." (perhaps Thompson does relate this to his own interests, having since used the song's title for that his memoir of youth, which he's said involves not-always-the-right-decisions).

On the negative, reactionary side, when he was offended by Sting's rain forest advocacy, this son of a London cop songfully sneered at the son of a Newcastle area milkman for being a "little Geordie" who didn't know his place (also by being much more $uccessful than Thompson, while rarely being as much an artist: white trash with money)---I wonder if Young's book deals with classism and related matters?

― dow, Thursday, May 18, 2023 4:05 PM (three days ago)

No answers to my question yet.

dow, Sunday, 21 May 2023 18:27 (two weeks ago) link

I think I skipped right by the question, sorry! My instinct is to say the book largely avoids any grand political statements but I don't want to be unfair to Young so would have to have a re-read.

Stars of the Lidl (Chinaski), Sunday, 21 May 2023 19:35 (two weeks ago) link

He has got songs about Jimmy Shand and Al Bowlly so there's some nostalgia going on there.

Maggot Bairn (Tom D.), Sunday, 21 May 2023 19:40 (two weeks ago) link

I never even knew who Jimmy Shand was until I saw him do that song at Summerstage in Central Park.

Cathy Berberian Begins at Home (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 21 May 2023 19:42 (two weeks ago) link

Oh yeah, "Al Bowlly's In Heaven," shoulda thought of that.

I wasn't thinking of xpost grand political statements, but more like how class might have affected or suggest ways of seeing, hearing the presentations of scholars and artists. For inst, Pete Seeger, whatever his choice of sources and arrangements, they were unified by his respectfully refined vocal style, which I heard as genteel, and you could argue that it made folk music more acceptable as a genre or subgenre, providing a gateway for rougher voices, deeper artists, such as Woody Guthrie; genteel-singing Baez may have opened things up a bit for Van Ronk and Dylan.

dow, Sunday, 21 May 2023 20:30 (two weeks ago) link

But genteel folkie vox drove some older rockheads I know in the opposite direction.

dow, Sunday, 21 May 2023 20:33 (two weeks ago) link

Um, I am not certain that's a fair reading of "Beeswing," either the song or the book.

Every bit of criticism in the song is self-criticism. ("You foolish man"
/ "Like a fool I let her run" / "and I miss her more than ever words can say.")

The book is almost as wistful, and I would not classify it as self-exculpatory. He seems at least as critical of himself as most of us would be in his shoes.

Also his most famous song is a highwayman ballad, I am not certain you can extrapolate a politics from using what is among the oldest lyrical tropes in English songcraft.

I am sure that there is more cultural context about "Al Bowlly's in Heaven" than I can grasp but the lyrics seem clear that Thompson is speaking from a persona.

she works hard for the monkey (Ye Mad Puffin), Sunday, 21 May 2023 21:06 (two weeks ago) link

Here's what he said about "Geordie" in an interview I found:

I think generally speaking, when you're writing a song in the first person, you are trying to get into the head of somebody else. Sometimes (it's) a fictional character. Sometimes fictional characters are based on other people. You know, "Here Comes Geordie" is based on a real human being so it just becomes easy to satirize that person's shortcomings (ED NOTE: The Guardian claims that Sting is the subject of that song). But every time you're using the first person in a song, so you sing through their eyes, I think you really have to get as full a characterization as you can in two and a half minutes.

I saw Jeff Tweedy play Friday night, an all request benefit show. He joked that he was dismayed how none of the 60 songs he'd released in the four years since he last did this got requested, then doubly dismayed at the number of cover songs requested. "Well, I'm not going to play any of them," he half in jest sneered. Later in the night he noted that someone has requested "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," and that even if he was doing covers he would skip that one, because there were far too many words. He then told a story of when the band and Richard Thompson were opening for Dylan, and when the tour hit Duluth (which is on Lake Superior), they brought out Alan and Mimi from Low, in addition to Thompson, to play "Wreck." They apparently had rehearsed it, and it sounded good, but when the time came to actually play, the lyrics were taped to the stage only at the top, and kept blowing over and obscuring all the words. The musicians did the best they could, but apparently no one on stage was happy with how things turned out.

Yeah. It was bad. https://t.co/aEgPLZfNAh

— LOW (@lowtheband) July 13, 2021

I found a recording of them doing the best they can, though, with all those words that not everyone knew. At least Thompson's guitar sounds good.


Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 21 May 2023 21:13 (two weeks ago) link


Um, I am not certain that's a fair reading of "Beeswing," either the song or the book.

Every bit of criticism in the song is self-criticism. ("You foolish man"
/ "Like a fool I let her run" / "and I miss her more than ever words can say.")

The book is almost as wistful, and I would not classify it as self-exculpatory. He seems at least as critical of himself as most of us would be in his shoes.

That's what I'm saying! They both seem self-critical, and depicting a certain kind of boho nostalgia shared especially with other young men of the 60s and early 70s, also the struggles with consequences of that, not that it didn't happen in earlier decades, like The Days of Wine and Roses, The Sun Also Rises.

dow, Sunday, 21 May 2023 21:26 (two weeks ago) link

Is being a cop's son a privileged position in terms of class for the boomer generation? Didn't Pasolini get angry at the student protests because he felt they were middle class kids opposing working class cops?

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 22 May 2023 09:30 (two weeks ago) link

Thompson's dad was no ordinary PC Plod.

Maggot Bairn (Tom D.), Monday, 22 May 2023 09:42 (two weeks ago) link

I dunno, I'm speculating about why he chooses "Geordie" as the ultimate punchline put-down playground taunt of this smirky song, rather than "tree-hugging pop star" etc.---seems to be some social discrimination, with regional chauvinism, jobism (cops smarter cooler than milkmen, unto the sons 'tis given?) easily figured in.

dow, Monday, 22 May 2023 16:07 (two weeks ago) link

I mean, since he wants to take it in that direction, I'll take it a little further.

dow, Monday, 22 May 2023 16:08 (two weeks ago) link

(ED NOTE: The Guardian claims that Sting is the subject of that song)

LOL "claimed", it could hardly be more obvious who it's about!

Maggot Bairn (Tom D.), Monday, 22 May 2023 16:57 (two weeks ago) link

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