Watching the Dark

Watching the Dark

5.0 1
by Richard Thompson
Multi-disc box-sets usually fall into two categories -- they're either overstuffed "Greatest Hits" compilations, or packed with enough rarities to ensure loyal fans will part with their money. Since Richard Thompson's career hasn't sent him perilously close to worldwide stardom, the triple-disc anthology Watching the Dark was created with the latter market in


Multi-disc box-sets usually fall into two categories -- they're either overstuffed "Greatest Hits" compilations, or packed with enough rarities to ensure loyal fans will part with their money. Since Richard Thompson's career hasn't sent him perilously close to worldwide stardom, the triple-disc anthology Watching the Dark was created with the latter market in mind, and if it falls short of being the perfect overview of Thompson's wildly varied career, it's a superb set that manages the not-inconsiderable feat of drawing an accurate picture of the height and breadth of Thompson's body of work, and offers enough buried treasures to leave jaded fans chuckling with glee. Sequenced thematically rather than chronologically, Watching the Dark covers Thompson's favorite themes well enough -- there's enough spiritual mystery, mortal heartbreak, and British traditionalism to satisfy nearly anyone -- and while the first priority appears to be Thompson the songwriter, Thompson the musician is documented with a similar degree of devotion. Watching The Dark gives relatively short shrift to Thompson's work with Fairport Convention and his experimental collaborations, but as an overview of his solo work (both with and without former wife and frequent collaborator Linda Thompson), it's remarkably thorough, and packed with fascinating and illuminating rarities. There are copious concert recordings, fascinating studio outtakes, and a handful of otherwise unavailable songs, along with an intelligently chosen selection of highlights from the first 25 years of his career in music. The sheer bulk of Watching the Dark (over three and a half hours of music) makes this a difficult introduction to Richard Thompson's work, but anyone with more than a passing familiarity with his music will be dazzled by it -- few box sets honor their subject with as much intelligence and depth as Watching the Dark.

Product Details

Release Date:


Disc 1

  1. A Man in Need
  2. Can't Win
  3. Waltzing's for Dreamers
  4. Crash the Party
  5. I Still Dream
  6. Bird In God's Garden/Lost And Found
  7. Now Be Thankful
  8. A Sailor's Life
  9. Genesis Hall
  10. The Knife Edge
  11. Walking On A Wire
  12. Small Town Romance
  13. Shepherd's March/Maggie Cameron
  14. Wall of Death

Disc 2

  1. For Shame of Doing Wrong
  2. Back Street Slide
  3. Strange Affair
  4. The Wrong Heartbeat
  5. Borrowed Time
  6. From Galway to Graceland
  7. Tear-Stained Letter
  8. Keep Your Distance
  9. Bogie's Bonnie Belle
  10. Poor Wee Jockey Clarke
  11. Jet Plane In A Rocking Chair
  12. Dimming of the Day
  13. Old Man Inside a Young Man
  14. Never Again
  15. Hokey Pokey
  16. A Heart Needs a Home
  17. Beat the Retreat

Disc 3

  1. Al Bowlly's In Heaven
  2. Walking Through A Wasted Land
  3. When The Spell Is Broken
  4. Devonside
  5. Little Blue Number
  6. I Ain't Going To Drag My Feet No More
  7. Withered and Died
  8. Nobody's Wedding
  9. The Poor Ditching Boy
  10. The Great Valerio
  11. Twisted
  12. Calvary Cross
  13. Jennie
  14. Hand of Kindness
  15. Two Left Feet
  16. Shoot Out The Lights

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Richard Thompson   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Hurdy-Gurdy
Martin Carthy   Background Vocals
Nic Jones   Fiddle,Track Performer
John Kirkpatrick   Accordion,Concertina,Background Vocals,Track Performer,Button Accordion
Dave Swarbrick   Vocals,Background Vocals
Sandy Denny   Vocals
Watersons   Background Vocals,Track Performer
Shawn Colvin   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals,Track Performer
Fairport Convention   Track Performer
French Frith Kaiser Thompson   Track Performer
Clive Gregson   Organ,Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,Track Performer
John Hiatt   Background Vocals,Track Performer
Henry Kaiser   Electric Guitar,Track Performer
Bobby King   Background Vocals
Gerry Rafferty   Background Vocals
Henry Lowther   Trumpet,Track Performer
Marc Ellington   Background Vocals
Ashley Hutchings   Bass
Simon Nicol   Dulcimer,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Autoharp,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,12-string Guitar,Track Performer
Dave Pegg   Bass,Background Vocals,Track Performer
Andy Roberts   Dulcimer
Jim Keltner   Drums
Aly Bain   Fiddle,Track Performer
Kenny Aronoff   Drums,Track Performer
Phil Barnes   Background Vocals
David Bitelli   Baritone Saxophone,Track Performer
Jack Brymer   Clarinet,Track Performer
Christine Collister   Background Vocals,Track Performer
Gerry Conway   Drums,Track Performer
Betsy Cook   Piano,Background Vocals,Moog Synthesizer,Track Performer,Mini Moog
Mickey Curry   Drums,Track Performer
David Derge   Drums,Track Performer
Timi Donald   Percussion,Drums,Track Performer
Pat Donaldson   Bass,Background Vocals,Track Performer
Sue Draheim   Fiddle,Track Performer
Barry Dransfield   Fiddle,Track Performer
Alan Dunn   Accordion,Piano-Accordion,Track Performer
Fred Frith   Bass,Violin,Track Performer
John French   Drums,Vocals,Track Performer
Mitchell Froom   Organ,Harmonium,Keyboards,Track Performer
Liam Genockey   Drums,Track Performer
Frances Kelly   Harp,Track Performer,Baroque Harp
Martin Lamble   Drums
Neil Larsen   Keyboards,Track Performer
Julian Littman   Background Vocals
Clare Lowther   Cello,Track Performer
Bruce Lynch   Bass,Track Performer
Dave Mattacks   Drums,Track Performer
Ruari McFarlane   Bass,Track Performer
Andy Newmark   Drums,Track Performer
Frank Ricotti   Percussion,Track Performer
Jerry Scheff   Bass,Track Performer
John Sherman   Accordion,Piano-Accordion,Track Performer
David Snell   Harp,Track Performer
Brian Taylor   Cornet,Track Performer
Pete Thomas   Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Linda Thompson   Vocals,Background Vocals,Track Performer
Glenn Tilbrook   Background Vocals,Track Performer
Lal Waterson   Background Vocals
Mike Waterson   Background Vocals
Willie Weeks   Bass,Track Performer
Ian Whiteman   Flute,Shakuhachi,Track Performer
Pete Wingfield   Keyboards,Track Performer
Pete Zorn   Bass,Saxophone,Background Vocals,Track Performer
Tony Goddard   Cornet,Track Performer
Ian Peters   Euphonium,Track Performer
David Horn   Tenor Horn,Track Performer
Michael Spencer-Arscott   Drums,Track Performer
Danny Thompson   Double Bass
Norma Waterson   Background Vocals
Lit   Track Performer
Philip Pickett   Hurdy-Gurdy,Shawm,Track Performer

Technical Credits

Henry Kaiser   Producer,Engineer
Gerry Rafferty   Producer
Richard Thompson   Producer
John Wood   Producer,Engineer
Marc Ellington   Producer,Engineer
Simon Nicol   Engineer
Tchad Blake   Engineer
John Borthwick   Engineer
Joe Boyd   Producer
Oliver di Cicco   Engineer
Mitchell Froom   Producer
Mark Greenhouse   Engineer
Edward Haber   Producer,Engineer
Barry Hammond   Engineer
Chris Hollebone   Engineer
David Leonard   Engineer
Leo Lyons   Producer
Hugh Murphy   Producer
Jack Nuber   Engineer
Ian Whiteman   Contributor
Greil Marcus   Liner Notes
Lance Phillips   Engineer
Leslie Berman   Liner Notes
Ilana Pelzig Cellum   Producer,Engineer
Bill Gill   Engineer
Joseph Marciano   Remixing
Traditional   Composer
Mark   Engineer

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Watching the Dark 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This box set hops back and forth through Richard Thompson's career. It is constructed somewhat similarly to Bob Dylan's Biograph box set. Although I have a fairly extensive Thompson CD and LP collection, many of the takes were new to me.This set takes you up to 1991's Rumor and Sigh CD. While I could list many cuts that I would have picked, this set does give an excellent introduction for someone who wonders who and what all the RT critical acclaim is about.