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Small Town Romance
     

Small Town Romance

3.5 2
by Richard Thompson
 
Small Town Romance was compiled from three warts-and-all live recordings (originally produced for radio broadcast) of Richard Thompson performing solo acoustic in New York City in 1982. The above-mentioned warts (a cough here and there, a very occasional flubbed note) are tiny and difficult to spot, but Thompson was quite aware of them -- enough so that he

Overview

Small Town Romance was compiled from three warts-and-all live recordings (originally produced for radio broadcast) of Richard Thompson performing solo acoustic in New York City in 1982. The above-mentioned warts (a cough here and there, a very occasional flubbed note) are tiny and difficult to spot, but Thompson was quite aware of them -- enough so that he persuaded Hannibal Records to delete the album from their catalog, though when the out-of-print album began fetching ridiculously high prices on the collectors market, he consented to a reissue in 1997. While the album is a hardly flawless recreation of the live Richard Thompson experience (and Thompson's solo acoustic shows would be noticeably stronger a few years down the line), it does capture Thompson's estimable charm as a stage performer with commendable accuracy, and the program is superb, featuring several Fairport Convention classics, a number of outstanding numbers from the Richard & Linda Thompson catalog, and a few otherwise unrecorded songs, most notably the devastating title track, which still stands as one of Richard's finest meditations on his favorite theme, love gone wrong. Small Town Romance may not be perfect, but it preserves a handful of passionate and impressive performances from one of the most gifted guitarists and songwriters around -- which puts it far ahead of the vast majority of live albums that will cross your path. Hopefully, though, one of Richard Thompson's even more dazzling solo shows from the 1990s will find it's way onto a widely available, non-bootleg CD some time in the future.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/04/1997
Label:
Hannibal
UPC:
0031257141925
catalogNumber:
571419

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Small Town Romance 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
glauver More than 1 year ago
This was recorded in the early 80’s just after Thompson’s breakup with wife and duo partner Linda. He had not developed the acoustic chops he later possessed. I saw him play a solo show about 2000 and he was much more the master of his instrument. Many of these numbers are stripped down versions of earlier Fairport and Richard-Linda tunes. There are several excellent live discs on Thompson’s websirte. The Austin TX disc on B&N is also better than this set. If you are a fanatic, track this down. Otherwise, you probably can live without it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is Richard Thompson the way he was meant to be heard-- live, acoustic and away from the distractions of other instruments. This album's best ten or so cuts show one of the world's finest acoustic players-- not only technically masterful but extradordinarily nuanced and emotionally subtle-- doing a kind of greatest-hits set. Thompson has been achnowledged as a master influece from Bob Mould, Ryan Adams, Peter Buck, among others, and on this record the solo Thompson shows us why. Thompson recorded this record shortly after his breakup with Linda, and the songs are shot through with an overarching melancholy and wistfulness. There are Convention songs, Richard and Linda songs, and even a Hank Williams cover. Highlights include a devastating "Beat the Retreat" and of course "The Great Valerio," whose eerie ending drifts off into echoes. A few cuts are throwaway fun, while the rest are wonderful. Along with "Shoot out the Lights," this is one of the better records of Thompson's career and certainly the finest example of his acoustic abilities.