“I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight” by Richard and Linda Thompson - album review

TJR says

Since leaving Fairport Convention on a hunch that he could forge a solo career as a songwriter and performer, Richard had released one album, “Henry The Human Fly” in April ‘72. From the Fairport circle, Linda Peters sang on two of the tracks on that LP; the chemistry was right between them professionally and personally and they were married in October of that year. “I Want To See The Bright Lights” was the next chapter, recorded in May ’73 but reportedly held back for release until April ’74 on account of the petrol shortage of the time which had impacted upon the vinyl pressing plants. Pleasingly, marriage hasn’t turned their shtick to yuck, in fact, it’s a dark and moody affair; whilst they may still be young they have seen their share of life’s ups and downs already.

The excellent “Withered And Died” is all sad-stories and betrayals, a whole League underneath the greatest Nashville heartbreakers in terms of impact. More upbeat is “I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight”, a truly great soft-rocker which emerges as some sort of working-class anthem; the will to smash the drudgery of the 9 to 5 is a universal truth. Some traditional Yorkshire brass adds to the class-leanings implied. Closing side 1 is the classic “Down Where The Drunkards Roll”, a gorgeous ballad about fading dreams and broken dreamers: “You can be a gambler, who never drew a hand, You can be a sailor, who never left dry land, You can be Lord Jesus, all the world will understand, Down where the drunkards roll.” Here, Linda’s lonesome vocal is offset against another old pal from Fairport, Mike Lucas, who lends a stupendous bass vocal, ensuring a most effective contrast. “The Great Valerio” is an extremely powerful closer, a song which seems to place each of us as Valerio, a tightrope walker, whilst at the same time having a dig at the voyeuristic nature of an uncaring society at large. In many ways it sums the album up; eternally we are morbidly fascinating creatures. There is much beauty within the darkness here; kudos to the pair who had the artistry and wherewithal to touch it.

The Jukebox Rebel
19-Feb-2016

A1 [03:26] 6.8.png Richard and Linda Thompson - When I Get To The Border (Richard Thompson) Folk Rock / Americana
A2 [03:51] 7.3.png Richard and Linda Thompson - The Calvary Cross (Richard Thompson) Folk Rock / Americana
A3 [03:24] 8.8.png Richard and Linda Thompson - Withered And Died (Richard Thompson) Country
A4 [03:07] 7.5.png Richard and Linda Thompson - I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight (Richard Thompson) Soft Rock / A.O.R.
A5 [04:05] 9.3.png Richard and Linda Thompson - Down Where The Drunkards Roll (Richard Thompson) Folk
B1 [02:49] 6.6.png Richard and Linda Thompson - We Sing Hallelujah (Richard Thompson) Folk
B2 [03:32] 7.1.png Richard and Linda Thompson - Has He Got A Friend For Me (Richard Thompson) Songwriter
B3 [03:24] 6.1.png Richard and Linda Thompson - The Little Beggar Girl (Richard Thompson) Folk
B4 [03:55] 6.0.png Richard and Linda Thompson - The End Of The Rainbow (Richard Thompson) Folk Rock / Americana
B5 [05:22] 8.5.png Richard and Linda Thompson - The Great Valerio (Richard Thompson) Folk




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