Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Richard & Linda Thompson - I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight (1974)

I knew I would like this album as soon as I saw the cover. Perhaps it was the voyeuristic thrill of the album title being written by hand on the glass wall of a steamy shower, with the naked bodies inside just barely showing through. So fitting for an album by a husband and wife duo singing songs about personal pain. It's not only brilliant cover art, though, as the album inside is equally stunning. Richard Thompson was fresh from his first solo album after leaving the Fairport Convention, and in Linda Peters he had finally found his perfect vocal counterpart. There isn't any real contemporary comparison to Linda, though I am inclined to suggest Neko Case, who posesses a similar timbre and spirit of voice to Linda, not to mention her own ease with darkness and melancholy. The title track is the obvious highlight here, although everything else is so damn good it hardly matters. This is folk-rock in a carousing English sense, with traditional string arrangements and balladry boozing it up alongside barroom rock. It's the kind of beautiful melancholy that makes you want to raise your glass and sing along until you get too drunk to remember the words, and then perhaps your own name.


cletus_buckley said...

As the man says "Cheers big ears". Had this on my wanted list for month now. Only heard one Richard Thompson song which some fella played in a folk bar in Edinburgh. But the front cover is so so good, that it cant disappoint.

thumbnail said...

yep, this is a good one. thanks!