Thursday, August 16, 2018

Richard Thompson - The Life And Music Of Richard Thompson (2006)

Rock, Folk | FLAC | 5 CD | 1,9 Gb

Given the length, breadth, and impact of his career as, arguably, the most revered figure in British folk-rock since he first joined Fairport Convention in 1967, it's no surprise that Richard Thompson has been honored with the multi-disc box set treatment not once, but twice. In 1993, noted Thompson, aficionado Edward Haber compiled Watching the Dark, three CD's worth of album cuts, unreleased studio outtakes, and rare live performances which offered a detailed chronicle of Thompson's career in music. However, not all fans were entranced with the set, and Neil Wayne and Nigel Schofield of the noted British folk label Free Reed Music sought Thompson's participation to create RT: The Life and Music of Richard Thompson, a massive five-disc set culled primarily from unreleased recordings taken from Thompson's own archives and accompanied by a 168-page book which includes an exclusive in-depth interview with the man himself. While RT is obviously a tremendous labor of love and a powerful testimony to Thompson's genius as a songwriter and guitarist, compared to Watching the Dark it's something of a disappointment. While the notion of five CD's worth of rare and unreleased Richard Thompson recordings is enough to make nearly any loyalist salivate, nearly all the cuts are live tapes of highly variable recording quality; though most sound "fresh off the board," an uncomfortably high percentage are scarred by noticeable technical anomalies (in particular boomy audience recordings and distorted radio broadcasts), and the 1972 recording of "The Great Valerio" from a Richard & Linda Thompson concert would barely be acceptable even by bootleg standards. (In all fairness, the booklet acknowledges the poor quality of the latter recording.) Also, given Free Reed's leanings as a folk imprint, it's not surprising the set leans heavily on Thompson's solo acoustic performances rather than his electric full-band repertoire, and while the solo stuff here is almost uniformly splendid, the proportions are certainly off in terms of giving an accurate picture of his body of work, especially disc three, which promises a set of "Epic Live Workouts" but which leans towards acoustic numbers with extended solos rather than the electric explorations that are truly Thompson's most remarkable live achievements. And though Nigel Schofield's liner notes offer an intelligent and impassioned appreciation of Thompson's work, the notes on the tracks themselves are less impressive, and the details on the source materials are often lacking or simply inaccurate (there are no Who covers on any of my copies of Shoot Out the Lights, no matter what Schofield says). None of this should suggest that RT isn't worth a listen -- simply put, Richard Thompson is one of the finest singers, guitarists, and songwriters to emerge in the second half of the 20th century, and there are dozens of dazzling examples of Thompson in full-flight here. Even when the audio is faulty, the performances are sterling, and there are a number of genuine rarities on-board, particularly on disc five, which features precious studio demos of a number of unreleased songs, including the haunting "Bad News Is All the Wind Can Carry," "Shady Lies," and "In Over Your Head." For all its flaws, RT: The Life and Music of Richard Thompson will leave no one with any doubt about the strength of this man's talent. Obsessive fans will find much to revel in, but overall RT seems like a grand opportunity that didn't quite pan out, despite a wealth of good intentions.

CD 1
1. Now That I Am Dead (3:05)
2. Genesis Hall (3:17)
3. Josef Locke (2:45)
4. Willy O' Winsbury (4:58)
5. Don't Sit On My Jimmy Shands (3:35)
6. Nobody's Wedding (2:13)
7. Madonna's Wedding (2:35)
8. Walking The Long Miles Home (4:05)
9. Withered And Died (3:25)
10. Beat The Retreat (4:59)
11. The Great Valerio (4:47)
12. Walking On A Wire (5:26)
13. Never Again (3:00)
14. The End Of The Rainbow (3:54)
15. King Of Bohemia (3:45)
16. Killerman Gold Posse (1:50)
17. Lotteryland (2:57)
18. Now Be Thankful (3:17)
19. Shoot Out The Lights (5:49)
20. Outside Of The Inside (4:20)

CD 2
1. I Feel So Good (3:17)
2. Push And Shove (3:10)
3. Time To Ring Some Changes (3:31)
4. Cooksferry Queen (3:26)
5. Waltzing's For Dreamers (3:43)
6. I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight (3:20)
7. I Misunderstood (3:51)
8. Meet On The Ledge (3:25)
9. Down Where The Drunkards Roll (4:20)
10. Gethsemane (5:51)
11. Tear Stained Letter (3:19)
12. Wall Of Death (3:22)
13. 1952 Vincent Black Lightning (4:53)
14. From Galway To Graceland (4:59)
15. Crazy Man Michael (4:46)
16. Dimming Of The Day (3:50)
17. Beeswing (5:28)

CD 3
1. Valerie (4:23)
2. Don't Let A Thief Steal Into You Heart (3:54)
3. Ghosts In The Wind (5:41)
4. Crash The Party (6:12)
5. For Shame Of Doing Wrong (6:55)
6. Calvary Cross (9:32)
7. Sloth (12:20)
8. Night Comes In (8:12)
9. Drowned Dog, Black Night (6:36)
10. Put It There Pal (7:53)
11. Morris Medley/Flying Saucers (6:37)

CD 4
1. Substitute (3:05)
2. Tempted (4:39)
3. (The Story Of) Hamlet (4:36)
4. Oops, I Did It Again (3:11)
5. ‚Ca Plane Pour Moi (2:51)
6. Why Don't Women Like Me? (2:52)
7. Time Has Told Me (4:47)
8. Shenandoah (3:34)
9. Danny Boy (3:35)
10. Move It (3:24)
11. Willie & Hand Jive/Not Fade Away (4:01)
12. Loch Lomond (3:30)
13. Job Of Journeywork (1:33)
14. Napoleon's Dream (2:01)
15. Sally Rackett (1:04)
16. God Loves A Drunk (4:42)
17. The Angels Took My Racehorse Away (3:30)
18. Poseidon (4:00)
19. Wall Of Death (3:50)
20. You'll Never Walk Alone (2:28)
21. I Ain't Marching Anymore (2:52)
22. The Who Medley (6:49)

CD 5
1. Albion Sunrise (2:35)
2. How Many Times Do You Have To Fall (3:36)
3. Bad News Is All The Wind Can Carry (3:04)
4. Mrs Rita (2:47)
5. Shady Lies (2:23)
6. Lucky In Life, Unlucky In Love (3:13)
7. Dragging The River (2:06)
8. Alexander Graham Bell (3:23)
9. Someone Else's Fancy (3:18)
10. Modern Woman (3:06)
11. Woman Or A Man (3:46)
12. My Daddy Is A Mummy (2:40)
13. You Got What You Wanted (3:17)
14. In Over Your Head (2:08)
15. Dear Janet Jackson (3:46)

pass: polarbear

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