Shoot Out the Lights

Shoot Out the Lights

4.3 3
by Richard & Linda Thompson

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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…  See more details below


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.

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Editorial Reviews

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.

Product Details

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Richard & Linda Thompson   Primary Artist
Richard Thompson   Indexed Contributor,Dulcimer,Guitar,Accordion,Vocals,Hammered Dulcimer
Martin Carthy   Background Vocals
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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Shoot Out the Lights 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
JohnQ More than 1 year ago
Richard and Linda Thompson (who made many Wonderful albums together) were on the verge of splitting up personally and professionally as they made this album. One might expect a chaotic album in such circumstances but instead we have one of the most beautifully written collections of heartbreak songs ever written. As Eric Clapton's Layla album was the quintessential expression of romantic longing, Richard and Linda Thompson's Shoot Out The Lights is its polar opposite, yet deserving to sit right along side Layla as a equal in music and emotion.