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Richard Bleksley
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Richard Thompson
« : 25.04.06 at 22:00 »
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Pete's mention today of Richard Thompson (see Guitars - the PA use of under Music) has finally prompted me to pose the question I've been meaning to ask for some time.
 
I know and like several of his songs by other artists, and I love "classic period" Fairport Convention, but I've never really got to grips with RT's solo stuff. I've been meaning to give it a try for years (or even decades), but you know what they say about good intentions.
 
Okay, let's get to the point. The trouble, when an artist's recorded canon is the size that RT's has grown to by now, is where to start. Now I know that a fair few of you are Richard Thompson enthusiasts, so can anybody give me some pointers?
 
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Keith Busby
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Re: Richard Thompson
« Reply #1: 26.04.06 at 03:53 »
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I also recently decided I should try to familiarize myself with Richard Thompson's work but was unsure where to start for exactly the reasons Richard gives. So I echo his request.
 
Keith
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Kevin Cryan
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Re: Richard Thompson
« Reply #2: 26.04.06 at 07:34 »
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I'd recommend the 1993 compilation album Watching the Dark, a three CD set of some 40 odd tracks that takes the listener from 1969 to 1983, but at 40 or so it might be a just a little too expensive for you purchase as a try-out. Then again you could always look in your local library; if it stocks anything by Thompson, then there is a very good chance it stocks that one.  
 
If you simply want to dip your toe in the water, so to speak, then the Richard and Linda Thompson 1974 album I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight is pretty much as good as any place to do so. It's Richard at the very beginning of his "solo" career, it does have some very good tracks on it and as a bonus it has Richard's first wife Linda singing as only she knew how.  
 
Kevin Cryan
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Secret Drinker
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Paul Gunningham, MoM

   

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Re: Richard Thompson
« Reply #3: 26.04.06 at 18:58 »
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Although I have some of RT's early post-Fairport stuff with Linda Thompson (e.g. Bright Lights) and a couple of his later solo albums, I've also missed a lot if his stuff over the years and have a similar gap in my musical knowledge. I don't know why, but over the past couple of years I've been catching up on Ashley Hutchings too (the Albion Band, etc.)
 
I recently picked up a copy of RT's compilation "Action Packed - The best of the Capitol years", covering the period 1988-2000 (IIRC). I got it in HMV for 4.99. It's got some of his best known tracks including 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, Beeswing, etc. Worth trying if you want to start somewhere?
 
Cheers
 
Paul
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Mike Walters
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Re: Richard Thompson
« Reply #4: 27.04.06 at 00:01 »
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Can't really argue with any of those suggestions.  Thompson's generally been a more consistent artist than most, so most of his albums are worth a punt - if you don't like them at all, it's probably because you don't like Thompson.  For my money, his most recent studio CD, 'Front Parlour Ballads' is as good as anything he's done, and I suspect that its witty lyrics, distinctive melodic structures and predominantly acoustic feel would appeal to fans of the other great bearded songwriter.  
 
Regards
 
Mike
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Richard Bleksley
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Re: Richard Thompson
« Reply #5: 09.07.06 at 12:36 »
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In a rather belated response (things with me are moving at their habitual stately pace) I'd like to thank all those who responded to my request for listening recommendations.  I've got hold of Front Parlour Ballads; and, while I'm not mad on every single track (but it's a rare album of which one can say that), I can say that the best moments are very fine indeed.  A couple of the songs have already wormed their way deep into my mind, and further exploration of the RT output is definitely on the cards.  And there's been a rather enjoyable by-product.
 
A rummage through Mr. Thompson's official site (this is even further off-topic, but I think it's worth sharing) led me to the section thereof with the deceptively mundane title News From Home.  Purporting to be a sort of domestic diary, this turned out to be an unexpected delight, a little masterpiece of comic writing.  Told in a wonderfully deadpan manner, with its catalogue of surreal events and its cast of richly eccentric characters it sits four-square in a long and noble British comic tradition (despite its Californian setting) and is up there with the best of it.  In some ways it reminds me of the late Viv Stanshill's cult movie Sir Henry at Rawlinson Hall.  If Richard Thompson weren't so good at what he does already, I'd say he'd missed his vocation.  Give it a try, if you're not already familiar with it.  
 
Links:
 
Beesweb - official RT site http://www.richardthompson-music.com/
 
News From Home http://www.richardthompson-music.com/newsfromhome.asp
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