Music for the Soul

Categories: 31-songs-in-may

Tags: music, June Tabor, Richard Thompson, Norma Waterson

Date: 28 May 2003 00:55:23

Those of you that have met me, and have discussed music with me may have noticed that there has up to now in this themed month of Lemly's wiblog been an absence of the output of a certain singer-songwriter-guitarist-demi-god. Today is the day to address this discrepancy.

May 27th: Oops, I Did it Again.

And for those of you expecting a Richard Thompson song, you'll be well advised to catch him in concert as he promotes his '1000 years of popular music' CD (available here - I won't go into the details of how the CD came about, it's all there too). That's right - a scary prospect if ever there was one Richard Thompson sings Britney Spears.

And I'm guessing there's some of you that haven't heard of Mr Thompson either. At risk of tuning this into '31 songs in a day', highlights for me include:

Galway To Graceland a beautiful song that inspired a radio play back in 1998ish.

1952 Vincent Black Lightening a motorbike ballad, a tune that grabs you by the waist and carries you along, the lyrics never tire.

End of The Rainbow in some ways a truly depressing song, but the tune and the passion behind it provide reason enough to move on. Very cleverly written.

God Loves a Drunk lyrically fantastic, covered by Norma Waterson on her first solo album.

Tear Stained Letter this one establishes Richard Thompson's 'rock god' status. Not many songs get me dancing, Tear Stained Letter does.

Dimming of the Day an antithesis to the likes of Tear Stained Letter in style and mood, yet as perfectly formed.

She Said it was Destiny my favourite track from Richard Thompson's latest album 'The Old Kit Bag', a twist around every corner, with a great tune to boot.

Beeswing a beautiful love song, so sad, it metions the Gower too.

Cold Kisses the tune in this one captures the mood so well of knowing what you shouldn't. Sung with a wry smile.

Waltzing's for Dreamers... and losers in love. Covered, not surprisingly, by June Tabor. I much prefer the original.

How Will I Ever be Simple Again? The effects of war brought out in stark contrast to the simplicity of young love.

I was asked a while ago why I like the clever lyrics in Richard Thompson's songs, yet back away from similarly obtuse references in the songs of for example Elvis Costello, and The Beautiful South. Richard Thompson songs are generally appreciable on more than one level, and I have to like a song on a superficial first listen before I want to explore it any deeper. In my opinion, Elvis Costello and Paul Heaton miss this superficial level. They also tend not to notice the importance of the tune. It should not be just good enough, it should be perfect.

I realise that the comparative success of Richard Thompson in Britain shows that I'm probably in the minority in my views, and that's a sad thought. There is good music out there that is meaningful to all of us.

I'm not going to try and describe this man any more, lest he find out where I live and break my legs for saying the wrong thing. If you've not listened before, do so. If you have, do so again. Thank you for your time.