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Shoot Out the Lights

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Schinder
Ironically, the final collaboration of Fairport Convention cofounder Richard Thompson and his then-wife Linda marked the artistic high point of their musical collaboration, as well as their commercial breakthrough. Recorded as the pair's marriage was breaking up, the eight-song album is an elegantly crafted yet emotionally raw song cycle that compellingly surveys the darjer margins of the human heart, thanks to Richard's incisive songwriting, searingly inventive guitar work, and brooding vocals, which are balanced by Linda's aching, crystalline delivery. Indeed, the immediacy and empathy of the duo's performances are all the more remarkable in light of the emotionally...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Schinder
Ironically, the final collaboration of Fairport Convention cofounder Richard Thompson and his then-wife Linda marked the artistic high point of their musical collaboration, as well as their commercial breakthrough. Recorded as the pair's marriage was breaking up, the eight-song album is an elegantly crafted yet emotionally raw song cycle that compellingly surveys the darjer margins of the human heart, thanks to Richard's incisive songwriting, searingly inventive guitar work, and brooding vocals, which are balanced by Linda's aching, crystalline delivery. Indeed, the immediacy and empathy of the duo's performances are all the more remarkable in light of the emotionally fraught circumstances of the album's recording. "Don't Renege on Our Love," "Walking on a Wire" and the starkly explosive title track resonate with vulnerability and recrimination, while Linda's remarkably graceful "It's Just the Motion" holds out the solace of acceptance amid life's emotional storms, and Richard's pun-filled "Wall of Death" closes the album on a typically barbed note of hope and resolution.
All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Richard & Linda Thompson's marriage was crumbling as they were recording Shoot Out the Lights in 1982, and many critics have read the album as a chronicle of the couple's divorce. In truth, most of the album's songs had been written two years earlier when the Thompsons were getting along fine for an abandoned project produced by Gerry Rafferty, and tales of busted relationships and domestic discord were always prominent in their songbook. But there is a palpable tension to Shoot Out The Lights which gives songs like "Don't Renege On Our Love" and "Did She Jump Or Was She Pushed" an edgy bite different from the Thompsons' other albums together; there's a subtle, unmistakable undertow of anger and dread in this music that cuts straight down to the bone. Joe Boyd's clean, uncluttered production was the ideal match for these songs and their Spartan arrangements, and Richard Thompson's wiry guitar work was remarkable, displaying a blazing technical skill that never interfered with his melodic sensibilities. Individually, all eight of the album's songs are striking especially the sonic fireworks of the title cut, the beautiful drift of "Just The Motion," and the bitter reminiscence of "Did She Jump Or Was She Pushed", and as a whole they were far more than the sum of their parts, a meditation on love and loss in which beauty, passion, and heady joy can still be found in defeat. It's ironic that Richard & Linda Thompson enjoyed their breakthrough in the United States with the album that ended their career together, but Shoot Out The Lights found them rallying their strengths to the bitter end; it's often been cited as Richard Thompson's greatest work, and it's difficult for anyone who has heard his body of work to argue the point.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/1/1991
  • Label: Hannibal
  • UPC: 031257130325
  • Catalog Number: 571303
  • Sales rank: 8,956

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Richard & Linda Thompson Primary Artist
Richard Thompson Indexed Contributor, Dulcimer, Guitar, Accordion, Vocals, Hammered Dulcimer
Martin Carthy Background Vocals
The Watersons Background Vocals
Clive Gregson Background Vocals
Simon Nicol Guitar, Rhythm Guitar
Dave Pegg Bass
Brian Jones Cornet
Stephen Barnett Trombone
Stephen Corbett Cornet
Mark Cutts Trombone
Phil Goodwin Tuba
Dave Mattacks Drums
Linda Thompson Vocals, Track Performer
Lal Waterson Background Vocals
Mike Waterson Background Vocals
Pete Zorn Bass, Background Vocals
Lal Carthy Background Vocals
Mike Carthy Background Vocals
Norma Carthy Background Vocals
Norma Waterson Background Vocals
Norma Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Joe Boyd Producer
Toby Mountain Remastering
Bill Gill Engineer
Gered Mankowitz Cover Photo
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A reviewer

    This is as fine an album as you will ever hear. The quality of the songwriting and the performances are magnificent. This is far more than a "breakup album." Richard's guitar playing is beautifully nuanced at times searing, at others sublime. Linda's vocals are absolutely gorgeous. The heartfelt nature of her work on "Walking on a Wire" is timeless. Nobody I know who has ever bought this album came to regret it. A stunningly beautiful work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Please don't shoot out my ears, Richard

    It has been said that "Shoot Out The Lights", the last album by Richard & Linda Thompson, is also the best. I can understand the fact that it IS the ultimate divorce album, but some songs are really annoying. I used to like it a lot as a little kid...but trying to listen to it again at 16, I don't have the patience to let it grow on me, and, as I said, a few songs (especially "The Back Street Slide") give me a headache. (Hey! If this is such a popular album, how come I'm the first to write a review about it???) So, I guess "Shoot Out The Lights" is the most popular splitsville album, but that's all I'm giving it credit for. It is a popular album, rated high in Rolling Stone magazine, but the songs on this album are nothing to write home about.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews