Thursday, August 16, 2007

Richard Thompson

The last few days Richard Thompson's old song "Beeswing" has been running through my mind. The bit about "wolfhound at her feet" was the line that came to me and got the song going. I don't really wonder why. Like most of Thompson's best, it is an amazingly evocative song, which can bubble up in your mind at various times. In this case, I've been getting reacquainted with the feeling of having a dog regularly to hand and underfoot.

Earlier this year I had the very good fortune to catch Thompson in his live show, performed solo and acoustic. I'd read for years about his guitar skills and I've admired his songwriting for at least that long. Neither fact prepared me for the truly astounding level of skill Thompson displays, let alone his connection with the audience and his, surprising for a guitar god, humility. I was fortunate to attend with someone as appreciative as I and we spent the hour's drive home repetitively asking each other variations of "could you believe it when he..." and "wasn't it amazing when...". If you ever have the chance to beg, borrow, steal, or otherwise make your way into a Richard Thompson performance, do so!

As a last note, a few years ago I watched a televised program where Del McCoury"performed Thompson's "1952 Vincent Black Lightning". It really fits as bluegrass, theme and music. Surprisingly, the audience seemed nonplussed, they were primed for nothing but the "O Brother Where Art Thou" soundtrack and failed to respond much to any song not off that collection.


Steve Bodio said...

I don't believe it-- another Richard Thompson nut!

Peculiar-- and his mother, who have seen him live-- are also fans.

Got the McCoury version too.

mdmnm said...

Hey Steve,

Yeah, Thompson is one of the more profound of the folkies. A person might enjoy his stuff from records, but see him live and be amazed. "Beeswing" kills me every time: "Like a fox caught in the headlights, there was animal in her eyes"- terribly evocative stuff. Nice to know there are more fans in the area! Maybe he'll swing back through soon.