Richard and Linda Thompson Album Reviews
Richard Thompson left Fairport Convention after 1970’s Full House, his reputation secured as an excellent songwriter and guitarist. He released a spectacularly unsuccessful solo album, Henry the Human Fly, in 1972. He then married Linda Peters and they released six albums between 1974 and 1982; their relationship broke down before an ill fated North American tour in 1982.
The duo’s music is often melancholic, and it’s a common trick of Richard Thompson to pair upbeat music with depressing lyrics. They often play acoustic folk rock, especially on their early albums, but 1978’s First Light uses an L.A. rhythm section and 1982’s Shoot Out The Lights has few vestiges of folk remaining. Linda and Richard share the vocal duties – while Richard’s gruff voice is limited, Linda’s pristine voice is able to capture a range of moods, from joy on ‘I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight’ to resignation on ‘Walking on a Wire’.
The pair’s first album, 1974’s I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight and their 1982 swan song Shoot Out The Lights are generally considered as their strongest. In between they spent time in a Sufi Muslim commune, taking three years away from music. Richard has stated that he considers their late 1970s’ albums as weak, as he didn’t have his mind on the job.
I’ve also included Richard Thompson’s 1972 debut Henry The Human Fly on this page, as it fits into the period. I have a big stack of Thompson’s solo albums from the 1980s and 1990s as well, and I’ll cover them on a separate page in the future.
Ten Favourite Richard and Linda Thompson Songs
When I Get To The Border
Shoot Out The Lights
A Heart Needs a Home
Don’t Let a Thief (Steal Into Your Heart)
I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight
End of the Rainbow
Dimming of the Day/Dargai
Wall Of Death
For the Shame of Doing Wrong
Did She Jump (Or Was She Pushed)?