Skip to content

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 debut album was with Island for a year before it was released. Whether it was the failure of Henry The Human Fly or the addition of Linda’s more conventional voice, I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight is much more determinedly accessible than its predecessor, more conventionally folk-rock and with a more rock feel to the rhythm section. This more commercial approach is a positive step; Thompson’s writing is more focused here than on the experimental Human Fly, and Linda’s vocals are more conventionally pretty, in the vein of Sandy Denny. Timmy Donald and Pat Donaldson are the rhythm section, while Fairport Convention members Simon Nicol and Trevor Lucas also cameo.

The classic opener ‘When I Get To The Border’, is in the same vein as the previous record’s ‘Roll Over Vaughan Williams’, a jaunty folk melody enlivened by Richard’s imaginative guitar solos and Linda’s harmonies, showing the potency of their musical partnership. The title track is another instant classic, with its upbeat horn arrangement. Of course, these two slices of positivity are uncharacteristic for any project written by Thompson, and the rest of the album is far darker. This is especially true of the two stunning closers; the downright glum ‘The End Of The Rainbow’, where an extremely pessimistic Richard tells a newborn infant of the horrors that await it (“Life seems so rosy in the cradle/But I’ll be a friend I’ll tell you what’s in store/There’s nothing at the end of the rainbow/There’s nothing to grow up for anymore”) and the haunting dramatic, Spartan ‘The Great Valerio’. It’s not all first-class – the Linda-fronted ‘The Little Beggar Girl’ comes across as a condescending Dickens caricature, while ‘Has He Got A Friend For Me’ is too maudlin to take seriously.

Quibbling aside, there is a generous handful of legitimately great songs here, and I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight is completely essential for any Thompson fan.

One thought on “I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight – Richard and Linda Thompson Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Young Culture

Music | Culture | Life

What's It All About?

A Nostalgic Journey Through the Tracks of My Years

The Fat Angel Sings

the best music of yesterday today and the tomorrow

Stereo Crush

Popular Music Uncommon-tary

Turntable talk

Musings on the world of alternative and independent rock music.

My life in music lists

These are the songs that have and will continue to soundtrack my life.


Midwestern groaning since 2011

Steve For The Deaf

Certain Songs Get Scratched Right In

It Rains... You Get Wet

Still more lazy thoughts from this one...


Zumwalt Poems Online

%d bloggers like this: