Category: Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson – Hand of Kindness

ARTIST: Richard Thompson Hand_of_Kindness_(Richard_Thompson_album_-_cover_art)

TITLE: Hand of Kindness

YEAR RELEASED: 1983

CHART ACTION:  #186

SINGLES: The Wrong Heartbeat, Tear Stained Letter

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I doubt it, really

LINEUP: Richard Thompson, Dave Pegg, Dave Mattacks, Simon Nicol, John Kirkpatrick, Aly Nichol, Pete Thomas, Pete Zorn.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After the breakup of his marriage and partnership with Linda Thompson, Richard Thompson releases his second official solo album and erases some of the gloom that inhabited the work with his ex-wife.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: No longer part of a duo (professionally and personally), Richard Thompson resumes his solo career in an unexpectedly bright sounding album. Reunited with his old bandmates (Pegg, Mattacks, and Nicol), and adding sax, accordion and violin, Thompson’s sound is somewhat jaunty. That masks some of the lyrical content about bad relationships and marital issues.

Yet, Thompson himself sounds sunny and energized. The opening “Tear Stained Letter” would have surprised anyone who had been following his duos with Linda Thompson, as here Thompson has a fire and wink in his voices. His guitar playing is stellar, of course, but he also allows his band chances to be out front as well.

The playing is fun for the most part, and while some songs are a bit down and depressing (can’t always be happy), the mood is upbeat. The songs aren’t his best for the most part, but the music world was glad he emerged relatively unscathed from his marital hell.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The guitar he’s holding on the cover was made by Danny Ferrington

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE B: Not the best song-wise, but it will please any Thompson fan.

Richard & Linda Thompson – I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight

ARTIST: Richard & Linda Thompson             RT_Iwtstblt

TITLE:  I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight

YEAR RELEASED: 1974

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES:  I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The Calvary Cross

LINEUP: Richard Thompson, Linda Thompson, Timmy Donald, Pat Donaldson, John Kirkpatrick with others filling in here and there.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First album from the then-husband and wife duo is a beautiful record. It’s a shame that it was ignored upon release.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Richard Thompson’s solo career after leaving Fairport Convention got off to a rocky start, and the album he made with his then-wife Linda continued his ‘losing’ streak, as it were, in terms of sales and notice.

Yet what they missed in 1974 they didn’t miss when the Thompson’s had more notoriety and the albums were re-released. The ten tracks all fit together well, with Linda Thompson’s voice adding brightness to some darker tunes, and Richard’s writing and guitar playing are exquisite, as usual.

It’s a shame that “Calvary Cross” is only about four minutes – Thompson can get almost ten minutes out of that without a wasted note. More on point, we’re all thankful that this didn’t go out of print, nor did it get buried.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The title cut was used in the movie Looper and the TV show Enlightened.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, three live cuts from 1975

GRADE: A: It’s a great record that was a lot better than almost everything from 1974.

Richard Thompson – Henry the Human Fly

ARTIST: Richard Thompson Hthf

TITLE:  Henry the Human Fly

YEAR RELEASED: 1972

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: No one really bought it, and CD releases have been rare or non-existent. So…probably none.

LINEUP: Richard Thompson, Tim Donald, Pat Donaldson and others

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Thompson’s first solo album after leaving Fairport Convention has some inventive songs and great playing, but fails to make a dent commercially.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Looking at the titles, and listening to the music, the only thing different about this Richard Thompson album and the material he writes now is the youthful sound of his vocals. His playing is great, and while he may be a little unsure of himself vocally, he does well with some backup singers helping out, including a few appearances by Sandy Denny and Ashley Hutchings, his former bandmates.

It’s not that surprising that it didn’t sell in the US, as Fairport Convention were really a cult band, and kind of faceless (except for Denny) at that. They missed out on a good album, though.

If you can find this, somehow, somewhere, then I’d definitely give it a listen. I found my copy on a Russian web site that had MP3s for a nickel – and the tracks were from a vinyl copy. Still worth it.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: His future wife, Linda Thompson (credited as Linda Peters) also sang backups with Denny and Hutchings.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. This should be digitally released, but I can understand why it’s not.

GRADE: B+: Kind of unfortunate that it’s buried, but it’s a buried treasure for Thompson fans.