About I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight (On Sale) by Richard & Linda Thompson:
Ranked #479 on Rolling Stone List of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
Duo’s First Collaboration Together Also Its Darkest, Loveliest
Faithfully Recreated Artwork Complete with LP Insert
Richard Thompson found a sympathetic companion in his then-new wife Linda Thompson, with whom he
collaborates on 1974’s mystic I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight. While only his second solo record, the guitar virtuoso sounds well beyond his years on an effort simultaneously bathed in thematic darkness and illuminated with melodies that glisten with elegance, beauty, and joy. With her rich and transparent voice, and superb feel for nuance, Linda effortlessly pairs with her mate’s consequential fare—not an easy task.
Indeed, Richard, just a few years removed from his tenure in iconic folk ensemble Fairport Convention, lays down several of the most memorable riffs and fills of his prolific career, accenting moody songs that address trappings of fame, circumstantial failings, and wry cynicism with unusual panache and grace. His allegorical skills are in full bloom on “The Calgary Cross” and metaphorical “The Great Valerio,” the latter brought to peak via a hammered dulcimer and acoustic coda borrowed from Erik Satie.
In listening to I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, one can’t help be reminded of how cultural critic Greil Marcus described Thompson’s self-sacrificial and surreal brilliance: “Sometimes Thompson seems to be singing from the plague years, following behind a cart full of corpses, laughing at the stupidity of human faith in one verse, cursing God with the next-but time stops. At any given moment, [he] steps forward playing both fool and executioner; he cuts off his own head and holds it up for the pleasure of the crowd, shaming it quiet.”
And so it goes here.
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