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Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4

10 Jun 13 - 06:06 PM (#3524992)
Subject: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: Noreen

Richard Thompson: Master Tapes on BBC Radio 4 now.

About the making of Rumo(u)r and Sigh :)


10 Jun 13 - 06:21 PM (#3524997)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: Noreen

bbc mastertapes


10 Jun 13 - 06:35 PM (#3525002)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: Noreen

Next week is Martin and Eliza Carthy talking about Anglicana... or Angelicana as the continuity announcer just called it :/


10 Jun 13 - 06:51 PM (#3525004)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: Leadfingers

Richard Thompson is juat a tad Shit Hot as a player , writer and general performer


10 Jun 13 - 07:06 PM (#3525010)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)

My least favourite Richard Thompson record.


10 Jun 13 - 07:14 PM (#3525012)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: GUEST,gillymor

Thanks Noreen, looks interesting.


11 Jun 13 - 01:50 AM (#3525086)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: SteveMansfield

Mastertapes is a great series, it really seems to get musicians talking at their best - the Wilko Johnson episodes from a couple of weeks ago were just really special.

They're on long-term availability on the R4 website (although I don't know whether non-UK listeners have restricted access) - well worth listening to, even if you're not initially that intested in the featured artist.


11 Jun 13 - 04:05 AM (#3525098)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: GUEST,Don Wise

No problem listening in Germany. The 'B' side comes later.


11 Jun 13 - 04:18 AM (#3525101)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)

I should probably give this a listen even though I never liked 'Rumour and Sigh' very much. In fact it was the last new Richard Thompson record I bought and I'd bought everything he brought out up to that point.

I always felt that after the split with Linda an undercurrent of misogyny crept into his writing, starting with 'Hand of Kindness'. There's quite a lot of that on 'Rumour and Sigh', in my view. And he's never tackled subjects like alcoholism (God Loves A Drunk)or politics (Mother Knows Best - there's that misogyny again!) with the insight or subtlety of other writers. I still can't listen to 'Psycho Street'.

Plus when he was working with Linda (and before that, with Sandy Denny) he had someone else's voice to write for. That, for me, was when he produced most of his best work. He got a lot wordier in his lyric writing after that, as well. Compare the economy of songs like 'Beat The Retreat' or 'Dimming Of The Day' with the later stuff like 'Beeswing' or '1952 Black Lightning' - the later songs don't, for me, give the listener's imagination space to fill in the blanks, which is what I always liked about his earlier stuff.

He still hits the bullseye occasionally - 'Keep Your Distance', from 'Rumour and Sigh', is one of his best songs, for me, as is 'King of Bohemia'.

There's a brilliant essay by George Orwell called (I think) 'The Benefit Of Clergy'. It's ostensibly about Salvador Dali but it discusses how certain artists get to a point in their careers where they become almost exempt from normal critical standards - they become icons, and any opinion that is less than reverent becomes a form of heresy.

Thompson has arguably attained that status for folkies, as have Christy Moore, Martin Carthy, June Tabor, Nic Jones, Dick Gaughan and a whole raft of artists of that generation. Not their fault - I suppose our generation of folkie-inclined punters like to feel secure in our admiration for people we've been listening to all our adult lives. It all just feels a bit - well, safe, I suppose. Maybe that's only to be expected at our age.


11 Jun 13 - 06:39 AM (#3525125)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: Will Fly

Oh, I love "I Misunderstood" and "Why Must I Plead" - the latter, in particular, has one of the most understated guitar riffs RT ever recorded.


11 Jun 13 - 06:56 AM (#3525128)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: melodeonboy

Slight thread drift, but does anyone know if the BBC are going to issue a DVD (or CD!) of the concert Richard Thompson did recently when they closed down the Television Centre (it was that, wasn't it?)?
I thought it was brilliant.


11 Jun 13 - 10:12 AM (#3525196)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: Edthefolkie

Good programme, must listen to the B side - let's hope there are some questioners who don't relapse into worshipful burblings confronted by Richard!

Re Chris B's points, the earlier songs are certainly often more economical. But "Beeswing" and "Black Lightning" are modern takes on the ballad form - ballads usually contain specific detail. And these songs do work - after all they're practically traditional songs by now ("And down to Knoxville they did ride" - has some guy in the US recorded that version yet?)

Richard tells stories from a character's viewpoint, and he's not preaching from some pulpit or other. They are stories, not biographies. OK there are some polemics like "Mother Knows Best" but he wasn't having a go at women - he didn't like the situation in his home country at the time he wrote it. To misquote a famous remark (by Peter Cook?) "It's not that I'm against female Prime Ministers, just THAT female Prime Minister".

Anyway, I've sat at his feet (sometimes literally) for nearly fifty years now and will continue so to do. Amen.


11 Jun 13 - 10:50 AM (#3525212)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: GUEST,gillymor

I think Beeswing and '52 Vincent will be sung a hundred years from now. Just hope I can still remember the words then.


11 Jun 13 - 11:04 AM (#3525216)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)

I think the 'Amen' illustrates Orwell's point rather well.


11 Jun 13 - 01:53 PM (#3525283)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: Bonzo3legs

Why are folks not just happy to listen to something that sounds bloody good without deep analysis of the lyrics - I despair.


11 Jun 13 - 03:15 PM (#3525318)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: Bainbo

Edthefolkie:
"And down to Knoxville they did ride" - has some guy in the US recorded that version yet?


The Del McCoury Band . I love RT's version. But I love this at least as much. It just works so well.


11 Jun 13 - 03:29 PM (#3525325)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: Bainbo

Oh. and "God Loves A Drunk" isn't about alcoholism. Not the way I read it, anyway.


11 Jun 13 - 03:38 PM (#3525330)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: Edthefolkie

I've been happily listening to stuff that sounds bloody good since about 1947. And sometimes analysing. That's what humans do.

Never bothered to analyse "Nellie The Elephant" or "Green Onions" though, I just dig 'em man. (Oops! Hang on, I must go down to the piano and analyse how Booker manages the chord progressions on that Hammond. Nellie can wait.)

Update - side B of Mastertapes worth it just for Richard's performance of "God Loves a Drunk". Pretty alarming coming through the PC screen!


12 Jun 13 - 04:25 AM (#3525501)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: GUEST

Oh. I've just listened to the programme. I didn't realise he'd actually namechecked Del McCoury and the Knoxville reference.


12 Jun 13 - 02:12 PM (#3525684)
Subject: RE: Richard Thompson: Master Tapes Radio4
From: Edthefolkie

I missed half of Richard's Knoxville reference too as I was dashing between the PC and the bathroom! Anyway, thanks Bainbo, have now listened to Del McCoury's version & it's great.

BTW a Black Lightning recently went for £246k at auction, cripes. I have no idea if the buyer or seller was called Molly. Maybe RT should get a rakeoff, not just the auctioneers.