RT: The Life and Music of Richard Thompson

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Given the length, breadth, and impact of his career as, arguably, the most revered figure in British folk-rock since he first joined Fairport Convention in 1967, it's no surprise that Richard Thompson has been honored with the multi-disc box set treatment not once, but twice. In 1993, noted Thompson, aficionado Edward Haber compiled Watching the Dark, three CD's worth of album cuts, unreleased studio outtakes, and rare live performances which offered a detailed chronicle of Thompson's career in music. However, not all fans were entranced with the set, and Neil Wayne and Nigel Schofield of the noted British folk label Free Reed Music sought Thompson's participation to create...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Given the length, breadth, and impact of his career as, arguably, the most revered figure in British folk-rock since he first joined Fairport Convention in 1967, it's no surprise that Richard Thompson has been honored with the multi-disc box set treatment not once, but twice. In 1993, noted Thompson, aficionado Edward Haber compiled Watching the Dark, three CD's worth of album cuts, unreleased studio outtakes, and rare live performances which offered a detailed chronicle of Thompson's career in music. However, not all fans were entranced with the set, and Neil Wayne and Nigel Schofield of the noted British folk label Free Reed Music sought Thompson's participation to create RT: The Life and Music of Richard Thompson, a massive five-disc set culled primarily from unreleased recordings taken from Thompson's own archives and accompanied by a 168-page book which includes an exclusive in-depth interview with the man himself. While RT is obviously a tremendous labor of love and a powerful testimony to Thompson's genius as a songwriter and guitarist, compared to Watching the Dark it's something of a disappointment. While the notion of five CD's worth of rare and unreleased Richard Thompson recordings is enough to make nearly any loyalist salivate, nearly all the cuts are live tapes of highly variable recording quality; though most sound "fresh off the board," an uncomfortably high percentage are scarred by noticeable technical anomalies (in particular boomy audience recordings and distorted radio broadcasts), and the 1972 recording of "The Great Valerio" from a Richard & Linda Thompson concert would barely be acceptable even by bootleg standards. (In all fairness, the booklet acknowledges the poor quality of the latter recording.) Also, given Free Reed's leanings as a folk imprint, it's not surprising the set leans heavily on Thompson's solo acoustic performances rather than his electric full-band repertoire, and while the solo stuff here is almost uniformly splendid, the proportions are certainly off in terms of giving an accurate picture of his body of work, especially disc three, which promises a set of "Epic Live Workouts" but which leans towards acoustic numbers with extended solos rather than the electric explorations that are truly Thompson's most remarkable live achievements. And though Nigel Schofield's liner notes offer an intelligent and impassioned appreciation of Thompson's work, the notes on the tracks themselves are less impressive, and the details on the source materials are often lacking or simply inaccurate (there are no Who covers on any of my copies of Shoot Out the Lights, no matter what Schofield says). None of this should suggest that RT isn't worth a listen -- simply put, Richard Thompson is one of the finest singers, guitarists, and songwriters to emerge in the second half of the 20th century, and there are dozens of dazzling examples of Thompson in full-flight here. Even when the audio is faulty, the performances are sterling, and there are a number of genuine rarities on-board, particularly on disc five, which features precious studio demos of a number of unreleased songs, including the haunting "Bad News Is All the Wind Can Carry," "Shady Lies," and "In Over Your Head." For all its flaws, RT: The Life and Music of Richard Thompson will leave no one with any doubt about the strength of this man's talent. Obsessive fans will find much to revel in, but overall RT seems like a grand opportunity that didn't quite pan out, despite a wealth of good intentions.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/7/2006
  • Label: Free Reed Us Release
  • UPC: 020286201427
  • Catalog Number: 55
  • Sales rank: 106,913

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Now That I Am Dead (3:05)
  2. 2 Genesis Hall (3:17)
  3. 3 Josef Locke (2:45)
  4. 4 Willy O'Winsbury (4:58)
  5. 5 Don't Sit on My Jimmy Shands (3:35)
  6. 6 Nobody's Wedding (2:13)
  7. 7 Madonna's Wedding (2:35)
  8. 8 Walking the Long Miles Home (4:05)
  9. 9 Withered and Died (3:25)
  10. 10 Beat the Retreat (4:59)
  11. 11 The Great Valerio (4:47)
  12. 12 Walking on a Wire (5:26)
  13. 13 Never Again (3:00)
  14. 14 The End of the Rainbow (3:54)
  15. 15 King of Bohemia (3:45)
  16. 16 Killerman Gold Posse (1:50)
  17. 17 Lotteryland (2:57)
  18. 18 Now Be Thankful (3:17)
  19. 19 Shoot out the Lights (5:49)
  20. 20 Outside of the Inside (4:20)
Disc 2
  1. 1 I Feel So Good (3:17)
  2. 2 Push and Shove (3:10)
  3. 3 Time to Ring Some Changes (3:31)
  4. 4 Cooksferry Queen (3:26)
  5. 5 Waltzing's for Dreamers (3:43)
  6. 6 I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (3:20)
  7. 7 I Misunderstood (3:51)
  8. 8 Meet on the Ledge (3:25)
  9. 9 Down Where the Drunkards Roll (4:20)
  10. 10 Gethsemane (5:51)
  11. 11 Tear-Stained Letter (3:19)
  12. 12 Wall of Death (3:22)
  13. 13 1952 Vincent Black Lightning (4:53)
  14. 14 From Galway to Graceland (4:59)
  15. 15 Crazy Man Michael (4:46)
  16. 16 Dimming of the Day (3:50)
  17. 17 Beeswing (5:28)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Valerie (4:23)
  2. 2 Don't Let a Thief Steal into Your Heart (3:54)
  3. 3 Ghosts in the Wind (5:41)
  4. 4 Crash the Party (6:12)
  5. 5 For Shame of Doing Wrong (6:55)
  6. 6 Calvary Cross (9:32)
  7. 7 Sloth (12:20)
  8. 8 Night Comes In (8:12)
  9. 9 Drowned Dog, Black Night (6:36)
  10. 10 Put It There, Paul (7:53)
  11. 11 Morris Medley: Flying Saucers/Rock 'N' Roll (6:37)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Substitute (3:05)
  2. 2 Tempted (4:39)
  3. 3 (The Story Of) Hamlet (4:36)
  4. 4 Oops, I Did It Again (3:11)
  5. 5 Ça Plane Pour Moi (2:51)
  6. 6 Why Don't Women Like Me? (2:52)
  7. 7 Time Has Told Me (4:47)
  8. 8 Shenandoah (3:34)
  9. 9 Danny Boy (3:35)
  10. 10 Move It (3:24)
  11. 11 Willie & The Hand Jive/Not Fade Away (4:01)
  12. 12 Loch Lomond (3:30)
  13. 13 Job of Journeywork (1:33)
  14. 14 Napoleon's Dream (2:01)
  15. 15 Sally Rackett (1:04)
  16. 16 God Loves a Drunk (4:42)
  17. 17 The Angels Took Me Racehorse Away (3:30)
  18. 18 Poseidon - Judith Owen (4:00)
  19. 19 Wall of Death (3:50)
  20. 20 You'll Never Walk Alone (2:28)
  21. 21 I Ain't Marching Anymore (2:52)
  22. 22 The Who Medley: My Generation/Can't Explain/Substitute (6:49)
Disc 5
  1. 1 Albion Sunrise (2:35)
  2. 2 How Many Times Do You Have to Fall (3:36)
  3. 3 Bad News Is All the Wind Can Carry (3:04)
  4. 4 Mrs. Rita (2:47)
  5. 5 Shady Lies (2:23)
  6. 6 Lucky Life, Unlucky in Love (3:13)
  7. 7 Dragging the River (2:06)
  8. 8 Alexander Graham Bell (3:23)
  9. 9 Someone Else's Fancy (3:18)
  10. 10 Modern Woman (3:06)
  11. 11 Woman or a Man (3:46)
  12. 12 My Daddy Is a Mummy (2:40)
  13. 13 You Got What You Wanted (3:17)
  14. 14 In Over Your Head (2:08)
  15. 15 Dear Janet Jackson (3:46)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Richard Thompson Primary Artist
Technical Credits
Andy Irvine Arranger
Dave Swarbrick Composer
Nick Drake Composer
Phil Ochs Composer
Clive Gregson Composer
Richard Thompson Composer
Pete Townshend Composer
Richard Rodgers Composer
Frank Loesser Composer
Bono Composer
Allison Chernow Producer
Christine Collister Composer
Chris Difford Composer
John French Composer
Edward Haber Producer, Engineer
Oscar Hammerstein II Composer
Ian Samwell Composer
Glenn Tilbrook Composer
Ilana Pelzig Cellum Producer, Engineer
Alex MacFarlane Composer
Mike Hockenhull Mastering
Neil Wayne Producer
Traditional Composer
Nigel Schofield Author
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Faith Rewarded

    Many reviews, including the one printed on this page, focus on the disappointment suffered by fans who purchased the Watching the Dark anthology. I,on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed that release. I was new to Thompson at the time and caught up fast. In the interim, I have collected a majority of his releases and seen him in concert a few--too few--times. This collection captures Richard Thompson's essence quite well. The tracks are put together by a man with a desire to truly get it right. He fulfills that desire. It is an expensive proposition this boxed set. Have faith. It will be rewarded. You will find yourself going back to it again and again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews