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Pavilion, New Brighton (Merseyside)
One of the
reasons for going was my son had put a Richard Thompson album on his
birthday list and was intrigued as to whether he had discovered a musical
gem that I had missed out on.
strong folk tradition in the borough, this travelling troubadour was bound
to get a decent audience in the refurbished Floral Pavilion.
is more than a folk artist. In times past before the newspapers and TV, it
would be the Richard Thompsons who would, through music, tell us about the
trials and tribulations of the day. And this is why he is almost a
droning on about fields of barley though, Thompson takes us to places we
have known in our lives. He is the Jimmy McGovern of rock.
Who else in
this over-crowded cauldron of X Factor wannabes, could get away with
singing a sea shanty? Imagine Simon Cowell's face for one moment. The
difference between Thompson's and anything you will find be warbled
diligently at the nearby Maritime Museum is that this guy is writing about
now not then.
Away is a narrative on a muso who goes away to work with a Céilidh band on
a themed Celtic cruise ship while his missus cops off back at home. The
humour comes from the familiarity with this albeit bizarre take on modern
Hots for the
Smarts was another piece of observational humour revealing Thompson's
fetish for intelligent woman who wear glasses.
Relationships feature more highly in the set than I had ever imagined for
one not completely with his back catalogue. The melodic lament I
Misunderstood summed up the lack of communication between genders with the
infectious hook, "I thought she was saying good luck but she was saying
Instead of a
cabaret of hit singles that many artists of his generation rely upon for
kicks, Thompson can instead take us down light fantasies and dark alley
we are seduced by the beautiful Sunset Song with the capo strapped half
way to sound like a mandolin, and the next we are swung round by our
ghoulies with the macabre anti war messages in Dad's Going to Kill Me.
is not just an insightful song writer, his guitar playing is vastly
underrated. 1952 Vincent Black Lightning is endowed with the most
accomplished rhythmical shredding this side of the pond bar none. No
effects, no band to mask any errors in the fiddly bits, the song rattled
along at a breathtaking pace.
of thought on the ticket price. I wouldn't begrudge a talent like Richard
Thompson his days at the seaside. But Asia were on at the same theatre for
around the same money. Leonard Cohen wanted £50 for a show at the
Liverpool Echo Arena so I guess it's all relative.
that, it all goes to show that sons can teach their dads a thing or two
about musical taste. Lesson learnt.
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