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Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by Dan R, Feb 4, 2019.
The hopelessly romantic early-nineties me echoes your sentiments.
With Danny Thompson
I've never been a particularly big RT fan, but I do have an RT story:
I started playing guitar when I was 17 (in about 1983?) and my first guitar was a Squier Bullet. I soon started bugging my Dad for a better guitar. When I went off to college as a freshman in '85 he made me a deal that if I made the Deans list, he would get me a new guitar.
After mid-terms, things weren't looking very good, but late in the semester I had to write an English paper comparing and contrasting things. I wrote a paper titled "The Greatest Guitarist You Never Heard Of" and compared RT to Eric Clapton. I got an "A+" on the paper, which helped put me over the top and onto the Dean's list.
My Dad kept his word and got me a used 1978 Telecaster Deluxe that was my main guitar for many years. I loved that guitar, and for that I thank my Dad and Richard Thompson.
Mr. Thompson is such a natural born Guitar Monster.
But his voice required immense work, I think, to make it as entertaining as we find it to listen to, today. When you look at the entire package, the incredible music writing, the biting lyrics, he's found a way to marry this all to a less than angelic voice and IMO it just works wonderfully.
I've had chances to go and messed up, because I was obsessed with getting seats way up front so I could hear his wit. I would expect the experience to be less if you couldn't follow the conversation (and I do have trouble understanding the spoken word in noisy settings). I've passed up some chances to see Neil Finn for this same concern, because there I was frustrated although the music was great.
The only other person I can think of straight off, whose always been able to play guitar extraordinarily but whose voice needed intense cultivation, is Mr. Johnny Marr. I really admire the hard work both men have undertaken to hone their voices.
It is so strange that Linda is such an automatic singer as is their son, Teddy Thompson. If you haven't heard Teddy, check him out.
I haven’t listened to that record in a long time, but I remember seeing the tour with just the two of them. It was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Oh, did I mention it was free?
I've seen him and met him many times. I've been a fan since Fairport days. He's playing in Boulder this week or next with the band and I don't have a way to get there. The new album sounds pretty good. I don't have it yet, I've just heard bits on the radio. Lately I've been binging on the Mock Tudor album.
Not trying to divert this thread, but all fans of "1952 Vincent Black Lightening" need to hear the tune done by the Del McCoury Band. I think it's one of the best covers I ever heard:
This song blows me away. Well, most songs Richard and Linda did on albums that had Lights in the title tend to do that.
I was always partial to this cover by Greg Brown. From 1994 when the original was still relatively new.
This one always leaves a lump in my throat. So much going on.
He plays great and looks like Marshall Crenshaw.
I was never a big fan, but this is great (or maybe it's just because I love the song). Just found it.
At college in 1969 I was a dedicated acoustic folkie. Liege and Lief was the first time I heard an electric guitarist and thought "well maybe it's a musical instrument." I was an opinionated snob.
I've enjoyed RT's music more and more ever since. (And other electric guitarists too.)
My favourite RT on stage comment here in my home of Blanktown - "I don't know why I've never visited Blanktown. I don't know why I have now."
And I love to hear people still newly discovering him.
Two things Boris...the first is that David Rawlings' voice has gotten quite good over the years of singing with Gillian Welch. I think he could be added to your most-improved-vocalist/ extraordinary guitarist list.
And the second is tangential I'm afraid. In late 2014 a young girl from Virginia Facebook-messaged Teddy Thompson with a homemade video of her singing. She didn't know him from Adam but within a week Teddy called her back with an offer to produce her first album and then her second. Here's Dori Freeman with Richard Thompson on guitar.
I think RT is a very good, very distinctive singer. I too, prefer the Richard & Linda albums, but he has had a very solid career for over 5 decades. He even played on Nick Drake & Sandy records!
Fascinating songwriter, as well...
He’s booked at our local spring festival with his electric trio...got tickets already so I’m set...he was there a year or so ago as a solo so I’m looking forward to seeing electric...