Midvale School for the Gifted Alumni Association

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

This Week's Musical Chairs

Musical Chairs

Thanks, Tesco for the rocking graphic. He will be talking about Tim Alexander, from Primus fame. See here.

Welcome, Michelle, to the ring. She will be waxing rhapsodic about Eddie Van Halen. See here for details.

Andrew is illuminating the masses regarding Steve Jones, of the Sex Pistols. Go here to read more.

Mr. Nimbus (also, welcome) is writing about the DIY genius of George Martin. See here for an excellent write-up.

My contribution this week? Richard Thompson.

Richard Thompson is a guitar player’s player. He is the technical virtuoso and master storyteller that many guitarists dream they could be (Clapton comes to mind). Coming out of Britain in the late 60s as part of Fairport Convention, he helped pioneer folk-rock. Thompson’s influences were much more on the jazz side of the musical spectrum, rather than the blues. He also draws heavily on traditional folk songs to shape his compositions. For a detailed career rundown, go here.

Richard tells stories, in words and in music. The notes flow out of his instrument and linger in your head, long after you’ve stopped listening to the song. He really draws on the entire history of music as a songwriter and performer. Recently, he’s been touring a show called 1000 Years of Popular Music, which arose from him taking “the long view” when asked by Playboy what his favorite songs of the millenium were.

I could listen to Richard play forever. He is one of those truly gifted musicians who shows us how his guitar is truly an extension of himself. It’s no wonder guitarists such as Pete Townshend Bob Mould cite him as a favorite. Shoot Out the Lights ranks up there with Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks as one of the classic albums about a breakup every recorded. Even cover versions of Richard’s songs are pretty straightforward tributes, because there isn’t much more that needs to be or could be added. How do you make a perfect song better?

Must hear:
1952 Vincent Black Lightning
Shoot Out the Lights
Beat the Retreat

Tear Stained Letter
Black Crow
(thanks, Tesco, for hosting)

Mr. Nimbus 'sez...
I was a kid when I heard Fairport Convention for the first time. The guitar was what stuck to me. As I grew older and got into into different types of music, I pretty much forgot about them and Richard Thompson.

Then one day, years later, I was playing poker with a bunch of friends and I heard this amazing song. I put my hand down and started to really listen. The guy who was hosting the game, a real music snob, said "I'll bet you 50 bucks that you don't know who this is". I started to get pissed, because I recognized the guitar, but couldn't put a name to it. Just as I was ready to give up, my long dormant neurons finally kicked into gear. I blurted out "Richard Thompson".

I didn't take the money though. Just watching his face crumble was worth every penny.

The song was 1952 Vincent Black Lightning.

Tesco 'sez...
All I can add here: I listened to some of his work, I'm not a big fan of Folk, but this one definitely stands out. I can hear why you dig it. I will have to learn more about him... I'm glad you brought his work to my attention


Blogger tescosuicide said...

*sorry for being a slacker!*


8:40 PM  
Anonymous Somedude said...

He sounds great. Will have to buy some of his records. Great read.

7:58 AM  
Blogger Frankie Five Angels said...

If you like Thomson, you should hear Michael Hedges - he does things with a guitar others only dream they could. Of course he IS dead now, but still...

10:22 PM  

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