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    I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight

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    I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight

    Studio album by Richard and Linda Thompson

    Released 30 April 1974

    Recorded May 1973

    Studio Sound Techniques, Chelsea, London

    Genre Folk rock[1]

    Length 36:55 (original)

    53:26 (2004 reissue)

    Label Island

    Producer Richard Thompson, John Wood

    Richard and Linda Thompson chronology

    (1972) (1974) (1975)

    is the second album released by Richard Thompson and the first including (and credited) with his then-wife, Linda Thompson, as Richard and Linda Thompson. It was released by Island Records in the UK in 1974. Although never commercially successful and critically ignored upon its release, it is now considered by several critics to be a masterpiece and one of the finest works of both Richard and Linda singularly or together.


    1 Background 2 Reception 3 Track listing 4 Personnel 4.1 Musicians 4.2 Technical 5 Notes 6 Other sources 7 External links


    After the marked lack of success achieved by his first album, , British singer/songwriter/guitarist Richard Thompson started a personal and professional relationship with Linda Peters, a session singer. was the first album by the duo of Richard and Linda Thompson.

    Sessions for the album took place in spring 1973 at the Sound Techniques studio, in Chelsea, London, with house engineer John Wood co-producing with Thompson. The album, provisionally titled , was recorded on a shoestring budget in a matter of days, but because of vinyl shortages, the album was not released until 1974.[2]

    Where his first album was treated harshly by the critics, the second was eventually hailed as a masterpiece. It is now regarded as a classic of English folk rock and one of the Thompsons' finest achievements.

    In the sleeve notes for the 2004 CD re-release, David Suff writes: "Throughout the album Richard's sombre, dark songs are driven by his masterful understated guitar and Linda's haunting spiritual vocals. The songs detail a beautiful yet desolate world of life before the fall, the lives of the homeless, the thief and the inebriate. The songs are thoroughly English in their mood and responsibility, wry observations of the hopelessness of the human condition."[2] Considering the song "End of the Rainbow", Suff writes:

    Richard denies that the song is totally pessimistic, "there's always hope in the third verse of my songs" yet the overall effect is a magnificent evocation of disillusionment. Thompson's songs are despairing but not self-pitying, leaving the listener with an abiding sense of peace and, paradoxically hope.[2]


    Professional ratings

    Review scores Source Rating AllMusic [3] [4] 8.5/10[5]

    Robert Christgau A−[6]

    [7] [8] [9] 10/10[10]

    Initially ignored by reviewers, later came to be highly regarded. Robert Christgau rated it highly when it was re-released as one-half of noting that "[they] don't sentimentalize about time gone—they simply encompass it in an endless present."[6] When it was re-released in 1984, along with other albums in the Thompsons' catalogue, Kurt Loder writing in described it as a "timeless masterpiece" with "not a single track that's less than luminous".[8]

    More recent reviews are equally complimentary. AllMusic notes that the album is "nothing short of a masterpiece" and calls it "music of striking and unmistakable beauty".[3] (May 2007, p. 135): "After his 1971 departure from Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson found his ideal foil in recent bride Linda. A hugely inventive guitarist, he gives full vent to his talent on this dark, brooding album. Indeed, he never quite recaptured the murky demons inside the likes of 'Withered and Died' ever again." In the 2004 CD re-release, Chris Jones at the BBC noted that "Bright Lights...performs the most perfect balancing act between hard-bitten cynicism and honest humanism."[11]

    It was voted number 814 in the third edition of Colin Larkin's (2000).[12] In 2003 the album was placed at number 479 on magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and was placed at number 485 in the 2020 edition.[13][14] The album also appeared in the "100 Greatest Albums Ever Made".[2]

    Writing for in 2018, Preston Frazier said, "'The Great Valerio' is just one gem among gems. Richard Thompson’s writing is masterful, painting in broad, vivid strokes. Time indeed stands still as Linda Thompson tells the vivid tale, with a hint of detached anxiety... Featuring only Linda’s voice and Richard Thompson’s Kensington-style picked acoustic, 'The Great Valerio' is dark, yet vivid as it leads the listener to imagine the great fall. Linda Thompson never oversells the proposition, using her voice like the fine instrument it is.[15]

    Track listing[edit]

    All tracks are written by Richard Thompson (except "Together Again" by Buck Owens).

    Side one No. Title Length

    1. "When I Get to the Border" 3:26

    Source : en.wikipedia.org

    Richard & Linda Thompson

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    I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight

    Remastered ed.

    Import, Extra Tracks, Enhanced, Remastered

    Linda Thompson Richard Thompson Format: Audio CD

    213 ratings

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    Track Listings

    1 When I Get To The Border

    2 The Calvary 3 Withered & Died

    4 I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight

    5 Down Where The Drunkards Roll

    6 We Sing Hallelujah

    7 Has He Got A Friend For Me

    8 The Little Beggar Girl

    9 The End Of The Rainbow

    10 The Great Valerio

    11 I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight (Live Bonus Track)

    12 Together Again (Live Bonus Track)

    13 The Calvary Cross (Live Calvary Cross)

    Editorial Reviews

    2004 digitally remastered edition of the Thompson's tour de force album which was originally released in April 1974 on Island records. It stands as one of the great masterpieces of English folk rock. For this remastered edition, we have taken the opportunity to add three previously unreleased live performances captured at the Roadhouse, London on September 7, 1975.

    Product details

    Language ‏ : ‎ English

    Product Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.59 x 5.08 x 0.47 inches; 4.02 Ounces

    Manufacturer ‏ : ‎ UMe

    Item model number ‏ : ‎ IMCD304

    Original Release Date ‏ : ‎ 2004

    Date First Available ‏ : ‎ July 26, 2006

    Label ‏ : ‎ UMe

    ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0001N9ZKW

    Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1

    Best Sellers Rank: #52,532 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)

    #69 in British Folk

    #659 in Classic Psychedelic Rock

    #1,323 in Folk Rock (CDs & Vinyl)

    Customer Reviews: 213 ratings


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    Richard and Linda Thompson: I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight Album Review

    Each Sunday, Pitchfork takes an in-depth look at a significant album from the past, and any record not in our archives is eligible. Today, we revisit the folk-rock duo's darkly holistic 1974 debut, a quixotic blend of the old and the new.


    I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight

    Richard and Linda Thompson


    8.5 By Andy Cush GENRE: Rock LABEL: Island

    REVIEWED: December 5, 2021

    Each Sunday, Pitchfork takes an in-depth look at a significant album from the past, and any record not in our archives is eligible. Today, we revisit the folk-rock duo's darkly holistic 1974 debut, a quixotic blend of the old and the new.

    Four decades after Richard and Linda Thompson released 1974’s I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, their beautiful and terrifying first album as a duo—after their music failed to attract significant commercial interest; after the conversion to Sufism, the three kids, the arduous years spent living on a religious commune; after he left her for another woman just as mainstream success seemed within their reach; after she clocked him with a Coke bottle and sped off in a stolen car during their disastrous final tour—after everything, Linda was working on a new song about the foolishness of love. It was a lot like the songs Richard used to write for them in the old days: Despairing, but not hopeless, with a melody that seemed to float forward from some forgotten era, and a narrator who can’t see past the walls of his own fatalism. “Whenever I write something like that I think, ‘Oh, who could play the guitar on that?’” she recalled later. “And then I think, ‘Only Richard, really.’”


    Explore Buzzcocks’ Singles Going Steady (in 5 Minutes)

    Can you blame her? Though both Thompsons have made fine albums since the collapse of their romantic and musical relationships in the early 1980s, there is something singular in the blend of her gracefully understated singing and his fiercely expressive playing, a heaven-bound quality that redeems even their heaviest subject matter, which neither can quite reach on their own. As lovers, they could be violently incompatible, but as musicians, they were soul mates. The existence of latter-day collaborations like Linda’s 2013 song “Love’s for Babies and Fools,” one of a handful of recordings they’ve made together since the 2000s, proves the lasting power of a partnership that seemed doomed from the start.

    The Thompsons met in 1969, while Richard was working on Liege & Lief, the fourth album by Fairport Convention, the pioneering British band he’d co-founded when he was 18. With his bandmates, he envisioned a new form of English folk music, combining scholarly devotion to centuries-old song forms with the electrified instruments and exploratory spirit of late-’60s rock. The misty and elegiac Liege & Lief was their masterpiece, but it had come at a price. Months earlier, Fairport’s van driver fell asleep at the wheel on a late-night drive home from a gig, and the ensuing crash killed Martin Lamble, their drummer, and Jeannie Franklyn, Thompson’s girlfriend at the time. According to Thompson, the decision to press on and record Liege & Lief was driven in part by a desire to “distract ourselves from grief and numb the pain of our loss.”


    The folk-rock musicians who orbited Fairport in London comprised a hard-drinking scene, where money was usually tight, and revelry and song took precedence over talk about feelings. “They didn’t send you to therapy in those days…we didn’t grieve properly,” Richard Thompson told a podcast interviewer this year. The losses would keep coming. Nick Drake, an ex-boyfriend of Linda’s and occasional collaborator of Richard’s, who struggled to find an audience during his short life, was sliding toward oblivion by the early 1970s. And Sandy Denny, the radiant and mercurial former singer of Fairport, as well as a close friend of both Thompsons, was not far behind him. The fading spirits of fellow travelers like these haunt I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight. Its songs treat drink, festivity, and even love as fleeting escapes from life’s difficulties, staring through the good times to the black holes that often lie behind them.

    Richard lasted for one more album with Fairport, then left the band with hopes of making it as a solo artist. Legend has it that Henry the Human Fly, his 1972 debut, was the worst-selling album in the history of Warner Brothers at the time. He was working steadily as a session and touring musician, but at the ripe old age of 23, he couldn’t help feeling a little washed up. Linda’s career as a folk singer, despite the arresting clarity of her voice, had been only moderately successful, and she was entertaining thoughts of cashing in, going pop. She was only a “weekend hippie,” she has said. And though he was still a few years away from embracing Muslim mysticism, he was already something of a monastic: declining to cash checks for his session work, and following a devotion to modernizing English folk that was so intense it led him to turn down invitations to join several high-profile bands because their styles were too American. Despite their differences in approach to life and career, something clicked. She moved into his Hampstead apartment, and they married in 1972.

    Their reason for starting a musical duo was practical, but also sweetly romantic: They wanted to spend more time together. They began touring the UK’s circuit of folk clubs, humble institutions that mixed socialist idealism with commercial enterprise, often operating in the back rooms of local pubs, where Richard and Linda would share stage time with whatever barflies wanted to belt out “Scarborough Fair” or “John Barleycorn” on any given night. Audiences were receptive, but it was a rugged and unglamorous way to make a career, even compared to the modest success Richard had seen with Fairport Convention. After about a year on the circuit, they were ready to graduate to bigger stages, and to make an album.

    Source : pitchfork.com

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