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Richard and Linda Thompson

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)?

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Henry the Human Fly – Richard Thompson

Henry The Human Fly (1972), 7/10 After five studio albums with Fairport Convention, then two years as a session musician, … Continue Reading Henry the Human Fly – Richard Thompson

I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight – Richard and Linda Thompson

I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight (1974), 9.5/10 Richard Thompson and Linda Peters married in 1972, and their … Continue Reading I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight – Richard and Linda Thompson

Hokey Pokey – Richard and Linda Thompson

Hokey Pokey (1975), 7/10 Like I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight, Hokey Pokey was recorded about a year … Continue Reading Hokey Pokey – Richard and Linda Thompson

Pour Down Like Silver – Richard and Linda Thompson

Pour Down Like Silver (1975), 8/10 Pour Down Like Silver is the record album equivalent of medicine – it’s music … Continue Reading Pour Down Like Silver – Richard and Linda Thompson

First Light – Richard and Linda Thompson

First Light (1978), 7/10 After three years away from the music business, an eternity in the 1970s, my theory is … Continue Reading First Light – Richard and Linda Thompson

Sunnyvista – Richard and Linda Thompson

Sunnyvista (1979), 5.5/10 After the slick L.A. rhythm section of First Light, Sunnyvista returns to more conventional backing arrangements, with familiar … Continue Reading Sunnyvista – Richard and Linda Thompson

Shoot Out The Lights – Richard and Linda Thompson

Shoot Out The Lights 1982, 9/10 Sunnyvista was sub-par and unsuccessful, leaving the Thompsons without a recording deal. Gerry Rafferty … Continue Reading Shoot Out The Lights – Richard and Linda Thompson

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