DVD Review: Tony Palmer's Film of Fairport Convention & Matthews Southern Comfort

In theory, Richard Thompson's muse is pretty dark.  His most reknowned song tells the angst of a Taliban sniper waiting in the dark hills for Soviets he can shoot. [They were good guys in those days.  Sort of.]  The "Wall of Death" ranks as one of his most cheerful songs.  His funniest song comes from the mouth of a young orphaned female amputee begging in the streets for change.  Marital infidelity, betrayal, and death are favorite themes. Linda Pettifer must have really enjoyed being married to this fellow.

Yet somehow he makes you feel good. Some alchemy in his ego seems to take such pleasure in his strength for  overcoming life's indignities as to totally dwarf the original pain. Every Richard Thompson fan I've met finds his work exhilirating.  When you see him live, he is witty and engaging and having a great time - not brooding or exorcising demons.  We gather to celebrate, not commiserate. 

Hey, if I were the world's greatest living guitar player, I'd be pretty happy too.  It would be hard for a fan to feel anything but excited by being in the presence of such total mastery of songwriting form and technical virtuosity on his instrument.  It wasn't hyperbole when my hometown hero John Mellencamp said "Richard Thompson could say more in one line than I could in a whole song."  He's just that damned good.

For Allah's sake (Richard is Muslim), don't miss a chance to see him live.  If you're lucky (and you will be just by seeing him), hopefully he'll play some of these, his best songs.

Psycho Street

Outside of the Inside

Shoot Out the Lights

The Little Beggar GirlRichard and Linda Thompson photo

1952 Vincent Black Lightning

Don't Sit On My Jimmy Shands

Al Bowly's in Heaven

God Loves a Drunk

Don't Renege on Our Love

Wall of Death

Put It There Pal

Cooksferry Queen

Mr. Dead

End of the Rainbow

I Feel So Good

The Great Valerio

Man in Need

Tear Stained Letter

Walking on a Wire

When the Spell Is Broken

Withered and Died

When I Get to the Border

Did She Jump or Was She Pushed?

The New Me

Down Where the Drunkards Roll

Crawl Back

Has He Got a Friend for Me?

Back Street Slide

I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight



Richard Thompson, 1970 image


Richard Thompson dreams of a Vincent Black Lightning, 1952


Richard Thompson's Front Parlour Ballads


Richard and Linda Thompson photo


the Vincent Black Lightning 1948-1955


Richard Thompson - Live, 2-19-2004

Richard Thompson - Live, 5-24-2005


Richard Thompson's Missing the Stew



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Music Sustains the Soul

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