Sunnyvista, released in October 1979, is the fifth album by Richard and Linda Thompson. After the artistic mismatch of the previous year's comeback album, the Thompsons made greater use on this album of backing musicians with whom they had worked. Sunnyvista is a curate's egg of an album in terms of its mood. Stylistically it covers wide ground and includes some of Richard Thompson's most overtly rocking songs - reflecting pressure from the record label to deliver a commercially successful album. There are more secular songs on this album than on its immediate predecessor. "You're Going to Need Somebody" and "Why Do You Turn Your Back?" are the most explicitly religious tracks. The former is a joyous affirmation of divine mercy and is notable for John Kirkpatrick's accordion playing; the latter has an unusual and long verse structure which allows for a effective build and release of tension."Saturday Rolling Around" is a homage to cajun music, a genre that Richard Thompson had long admired and which he had experimented with on Fairport Convention's Unhalfbricking album.
This too is a upbeat song. Elsewhere the mood is more spiteful in the opening "Civilisation" with its sarcastic lyrics and in the heavy-handed satire of the title track which takes a tilt at a community, superficially happy but controlled and uniform. Whether this is a reference to late 70s Britain, or to the commune that the Thompsons had left, is not clear; the song is principally a tango, with slower lyrical interludes. Thompson tries his hand at funk on "Justice In The Streets" and at hard rock on "Living on Borrowed Time". "Traces of My Love" is a tender song of longing and lyrically is in the ancient sufic tradition of expressing love for the divine in secular terms. "Sisters" is a soulful ballad, with harmony backing by the McGarrigles. Although a reminiscence for lost youth, the song develops a bitter undercurrent of jealous betrayal. "Lonely Hearts", with backing vocals from Gerry Rafferty, is a slow ballad with the theme of alienation and loneliness. A digitally re-mixed version of the song appears on Linda Thompson's 1996 solo compilation album Dreams Fly Away.
The closing track. It had been chosen as the theme tune for the BBC television drama Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry and the new version was issued as a single; the front and back cover of the album feature a number of photographs of the Alexandra and Ainsworth estate, London. The front cover features a visual pun on the company logo used at the time by UK travel agent Thomson Holidays; the response to Sunnyvista by the critics and the public was lukewarm, Chrysalis decided to not extend their relationship with the Thompsons. The settlement between artist and label left Thompson owning the master tapes for the two albums he had recorded for Chrysalis; the albums were licensed to Joe Boyd's Hannibal label for re-issue on CD. All songs written by Richard Thompson. Note: "Georgie on a Spree" not included on original vinyl record. Richard Thompson - guitar, mandolin, whistle Linda Thompson - vocals Michael Spencer-Arscott - drums Dave Pegg - bass guitar Timmy Donald - drums Pat Donaldson - bass guitar Pete Wingfield - keyboards Rabbit Bundrick - keyboards John Kirkpatrick - accordion, triangle Dave Mattacks - drums Luís Jardim - percussion Sue Harris - oboe, dulcimer Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Glenn Tilbrook, Julian Littman, Marc Ellington, Olive Simpson, Nicole Tibbels, Lindsay Benton, Gerry Rafferty, Hafsa Abdul Jabbas and Abdu Rahim - background vocals
Acoustic Classics is the fifteenth solo studio album by British singer/songwriter Richard Thompson. It was released by Beeswing Records via Proper Records on 21 July 2014 in the UK and 22 July 2014 in the USA. Acoustic Classics is an album of acoustic versions of songs from Thompson's back catalogue, both as a solo artist and as part of the folk rock duo Richard & Linda Thompson. Thompson states that the album "was conceived to be something to sell at acoustic shows" as he did not have anything available, "representative of a solo show"; the album includes his first solo studio version of "Persuasion,", available in a live recording and a studio duet with son Teddy Thompson. Thompson wrote the song with Tim Finn of Crowded House & Split Enz. Finn had a minor hit with the song when released as a solo single in 1993; the song was included on Finn's solo album Before & After released in 1993. "From Galway to Graceland" is a song about an Irish woman, convinced she is married to Elvis Presley and travels to Graceland to kneel by his grave before being ejected at closing time.
The album was released on digital download. According to the album credits, Thompson plays Lowden guitars on Acoustic Classics. An article in Acoustic quotes George Lowden as stating that Thompson has played such a guitar since the early 80's and that he built a signature model for Thompson out of cedar wood, based on the Lowden F model guitar, with ziricote wood for the back and sides and no position markers on the fingerboard. On the Metacritic website, which aggregates reviews from critics and assigns a normalised rating out of 100, Acoustic Classics received a score of 76, based on 1 mixed and 9 positive reviews; the album was reviewed, with critics giving positive comments. Martin Chilton in The Daily Telegraph states that the album is "full of interesting guitar flourishes and rhythms which bring an imaginative touch to classics" and that "you will still find much to enjoy listening to a master re-touch some of his best works". John Paul of PopMatters writes that "Acoustic Classics serves as a fitting showcase for not only Thompson’s undeniable skills as a virtuoso guitarist, but as a phenomenal songwriter capable of deftly tapping into a wealth of human emotions".
He states that the album "plays like an hour-long live performance stripped of crowd noise, giving it an intimate immediacy that draws in the listener and makes them feel as though this were a command performance for one". The Financial Times critic David Honigmann feels differently, writing in his review that "this attempt to capture the spirit of Thompson’s celebrated acoustic concerts is unexpectedly bloodless". Timothy Monger of AllMusic states that "it's a true pleasure to hear effortless command of the instrument as well as his rich, commanding baritone in the warm, unplugged format" and feels Acoustic Classics is an essential album for Thompson fans and British folk fans in general"; the Guardian review by Neil Spencer is more conservative, writing that "most of these pieces are best heard in original form" but does concede that "Thompson brings the experience of his years to bear on 14 dazzlingly good songs, singing more intensely while playing more nimbly". American Songwriter's Hal Horowitz writes that "these updated versions bring a newfound fire and/or subtlety" and comments that you can "relish these terrific songs played and sung by a master still at the top of his game and wise enough to realize he can improve on the originals."
Joe Breen writing in The Irish Times writes that "there has always been a tension in Thompson’s writing...here it sounds starker in this solitary performance" and that "the “live” performance seems naked without applause". Colin Irwin writes in Mojo that these versions of the songs "are scarcely comparable to the original band versions...but there's a certain magic in hearing the classics in such intimate form". He summarises by stating that "the rugged, bluesy quality of Thompson's voice can be appreciated". All tracks written by Richard Thompson except “Persuasion” by Thompson and Tim Finn Richard Thompson - guitars and vocals
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams was an English composer. His works include operas, chamber music and religious vocal pieces and orchestral compositions including nine symphonies, written over sixty years. Influenced by Tudor music and English folk-song, his output marked a decisive break in British music from its German-dominated style of the 19th century. Vaughan Williams was born to a well-to-do family with strong moral views and a progressive social outlook. Throughout his life he sought to be of service to his fellow citizens, believed in making music as available as possible to everybody, he wrote many works for student performance. He was musically a late developer, not finding his true voice until his late thirties. Vaughan Williams is among the best-known British symphonists, noted for his wide range of moods, from stormy and impassioned to tranquil, from mysterious to exuberant. Among the most familiar of his other concert works are Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and The Lark Ascending, his vocal works include folk-song arrangements and large-scale choral pieces.
He wrote eight works for stage performance between 1919 and 1951. Although none of his operas became popular repertoire pieces, his ballet Job: A Masque for Dancing was successful and has been staged. Two episodes made notably deep impressions in Vaughan Williams's personal life; the First World War, in which he served in the army, had a lasting emotional effect. Twenty years though in his sixties and devotedly married, he was reinvigorated by a love affair with a much younger woman, who became his second wife, he went on composing through his seventies and eighties, producing his last symphony months before his death at the age of eighty-five. His works have continued to be a staple of the British concert repertoire, all his major compositions and many of the minor ones have been recorded. Vaughan Williams was born at Down Ampney, the third child and younger son of the vicar, the Reverend Arthur Vaughan Williams and his wife, Margaret, née Wedgwood, his paternal forebears were of mixed Welsh descent.
The judges Sir Edward and Sir Roland Vaughan Williams were Arthur's father and brother. Margaret Vaughan Williams was niece of Charles Darwin. Arthur Vaughan Williams died in February 1875, his widow took the children to live in her family home, Leith Hill Place, Surrey; the children were under the care of a nurse, Sara Wager, who instilled in them not only polite manners and good behaviour but liberal social and philosophical opinions. Such views were consistent with the progressive-minded tradition of both sides of the family; when the young Vaughan Williams asked his mother about Darwin's controversial book On the Origin of Species, she answered, "The Bible says that God made the world in six days. Great Uncle Charles thinks it took longer: but we need not worry about it, for it is wonderful either way". In 1878, at the age of five, Vaughan Williams began receiving piano lessons from his aunt, Sophy Wedgwood, he displayed signs of musical talent early on, composing his first piece of music, a four-bar piano piece called "The Robin's Nest", in the same year.
He did not like the piano, was pleased to begin violin lessons the following year. In 1880, when he was eight, he took a correspondence course in music from Edinburgh University and passed the associated examinations. In September 1883 he went as a boarder to Field House preparatory school in Rottingdean on the south coast of England, forty miles from Wotton, he was happy there, although he was shocked to encounter for the first time social snobbery and political conservatism, which were rife among his fellow pupils. From there he moved on to the public school Charterhouse in January 1887, his academic and sporting achievements there were satisfactory, the school encouraged his musical development. In 1888 he organised a concert in the school hall, which included a performance of his G major Piano Trio with the composer as violinist. While at Charterhouse Vaughan Williams found that religion meant less and less to him, for a while he was an atheist; this softened into "a cheerful agnosticism", he continued to attend church to avoid upsetting the family.
His views on religion did not affect his love of the Authorised Version of the Bible, the beauty of which, in the words of Ursula Vaughan Williams in her 1964 biography of the composer, remained "one of his essential companions through life." In this, as in many other things in his life, he was, according to his biographer Michael Kennedy, "that English product the natural nonconformist with a conservative regard for the best tradition". In July 1890 Vaughan Williams left Charterhouse and in September he was enrolled as a student at the Royal College of Music, London. After a compulsory course in harmony with Francis Edward Gladstone, professor of organ and harmony, he studied organ with Walter Parratt and composition with Hubert Parry, he idolised Parry, recalled in his Musical Autobiography: Parry once said to me: "Write choral music as befits an Englishman and a democrat". We pupils of Parry have, if we have been wise, inherited from him the great English choral tradition, which Tallis passed on to Byrd, Byrd to Gibbons, Gibbons to Purcell, Purcell to Battishill and Greene, they in their turn through the Wesleys, to Parry.
He has passed on the
Pour Down Like Silver
Pour Down Like Silver is the third album by the British duo of singer-songwriter and guitarist Richard and vocalist Linda Thompson. It was recorded in the summer of 1975 and released in November 1975; the Thompsons had moved into a commune in London. The songs on this album reflect their new faith and the relief that Richard Thompson had found in that faith, it seems that conflicting pressures were bearing down on the duo at the time. Linda Thompson:'... At one point our Sheikh forbade Richard to do music... On the other hand, he always encouraged me, "you have a voice and you've got to sing".' Jo Lustig:'Richard came to me and said "look, my Mullah doesn't want me to play electric guitar. I don't know what I'm going to do about my career... I'm not going to be working."'And there was a recording contract. The Thompsons owed Island Records an album; the compromise seems to have been that the album to be delivered was to have a strong spiritual aspect. Linda Thompson:'Pour Down Like Silver was when Sheikh Abdul Q'adir said we could make music as long as it was to God...
"Dimming of the Day", "Beat the Retreat", "Night Comes In", they're all about God, considering they're all about God some of them aren't bad.' Despite these surrounding constraints and conflicts, the album is recognisably a Richard and Linda Thompson album in terms of melodies and the lyrical style. Pour Down Like Silver was recorded at Sound Techniques studio with John Wood engineering. Richard Thompson would have been familiar with both engineer and studio from his time with Fairport Convention. Joe Boyd, who had both produced and managed Fairport, did the vast majority of his production work at Sound Techniques and with Wood at the controls. Richard Thompson had left Fairport Convention in 1971 with a considerable reputation as an electric guitar soloist. However, the first few albums of his post-Fairport career had placed more emphasis on the vocals and the songs themselves; as noted above, Thompson was under increasing pressure from his spiritual teacher to abandon the electric guitar. What recent live work there had been had placed the emphasis on acoustic guitar.
So it was notable that Pour Down Like Silver and the live shows either side of the album’s release saw Thompson’s electric guitar returning to the spotlight. Concert performances featured extended guitar solos on "The Calvary Cross" and on "Night Comes In" and "For Shame of Doing Wrong" from the newly released Pour Down Like Silver; the electric guitar is prominent indeed on the third Linda album. More so because of the sparser arrangements and production that distinguish this album from its more lush sounding predecessor. Subsequently, Thompson disclosed that this stark and simple production was more by accident than design. "It was a stark record, but I think it was by accident in a sense – we were intending to have Simon come and play rhythm guitar but he wasn’t available so everything ended up sounding stark and I was always going to overdub rhythm guitar and stuff, but we thought we’ll just leave it, what the hell."Thompson may be regarded as being a little too off-hand here. In fact he overdubbed mandolin and multiple guitar parts on some tracks, session musicians were called in.
Another noticeable instrumental element of the album is the accordion of John Kirkpatrick, prominent both on this album and during the Thompsons' live shows in 1975. The understated and elegant "Dimming of the Day" was sung by Linda Thompson on this album, but Richard Thompson has continued to feature it in his own live shows for many years - an indication of its deep personal significance; this song is an example of Thompson writing in a centuries-old Sufic tradition of expressing divine love in earthly terms. On the album "Dimming of the Day" segues into a solo guitar performance of Scots composer James Scott Skinner's "Dargai" that matches the mood of the song and serves to bring the album to a contemplative conclusion. "Night Comes In" is another song of profound personal significance and recounts Richard Thompson's formal initiation into the Sufi faith. The song is notable for several prominent passages of electric guitar playing notable for their lyrical intensity - the closing, multi-tracked solo.
"Hard Luck Stories" is the most musically upbeat song on the album, with sardonic lyrics and a incisive guitar solo. After this album and the following short tour and Linda Thompson took a sabbatical from recording and performing music. All songs written by Richard Thompson except "Dargai", written by J. Scott Skinner and arranged by Thompson. "Streets of Paradise" - 4.17 "For Shame of Doing Wrong" - 4.44 "The Poor Boy Is Taken Away" - 3.35 "Night Comes In" - 8.12 "Jet Plane in a Rocking Chair" - 2.48 "Beat the Retreat" - 5.52 "Hard Luck Stories" - 3.51 "Dimming of the Day"/"Dargai" - 7.16 Available on 2003 Island Reissue "Streets of Paradise" - 3.57 "Night Comes In" - 12.22 "Dark End of the Street" - 4.16 "Beat the Retreat" - 6.25 Richard Thompson - guitar, mandolin, Appalachian dulcimer, Hammered dulcimer, electric piano Linda Thompson - vocals Timi Donald - drums Pat Donaldson - bass guitar Dave Mattacks - drums Dave Pegg - bass guitar John Kirkpatrick - accordion, concertina Ian Whiteman - flute, shakuhachi Aly Bain - fiddle Nic Jones - fiddle Henry Lowther - trumpet Clare Lowther - cello Jack Brymer - clarinet Dargai by James Scott Skinner
The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that has six strings. It is played with both hands by strumming or plucking the strings with either a guitar pick or the finger/fingernails of one hand, while fretting with the fingers of the other hand; the sound of the vibrating strings is projected either acoustically, by means of the hollow chamber of the guitar, or through an electrical amplifier and a speaker. The guitar is a type of chordophone, traditionally constructed from wood and strung with either gut, nylon or steel strings and distinguished from other chordophones by its construction and tuning; the modern guitar was preceded by the gittern, the vihuela, the four-course Renaissance guitar, the five-course baroque guitar, all of which contributed to the development of the modern six-string instrument. There are three main types of modern acoustic guitar: the classical guitar, the steel-string acoustic guitar, the archtop guitar, sometimes called a "jazz guitar"; the tone of an acoustic guitar is produced by the strings' vibration, amplified by the hollow body of the guitar, which acts as a resonating chamber.
The classical guitar is played as a solo instrument using a comprehensive finger-picking technique where each string is plucked individually by the player's fingers, as opposed to being strummed. The term "finger-picking" can refer to a specific tradition of folk, blues and country guitar playing in the United States; the acoustic bass guitar is a low-pitched instrument, one octave below a regular guitar. Electric guitars, introduced in the 1930s, use an amplifier and a loudspeaker that both makes the sound of the instrument loud enough for the performers and audience to hear, given that it produces an electric signal when played, that can electronically manipulate and shape the tone using an equalizer and a huge variety of electronic effects units, the most used ones being distortion and reverb. Early amplified guitars employed a hollow body, but solid wood guitars began to dominate during the 1960s and 1970s, as they are less prone to unwanted acoustic feedback "howls"; as with acoustic guitars, there are a number of types of electric guitars, including hollowbody guitars, archtop guitars and solid-body guitars, which are used in rock music.
The loud, amplified sound and sonic power of the electric guitar played through a guitar amp has played a key role in the development of blues and rock music, both as an accompaniment instrument and performing guitar solos, in many rock subgenres, notably heavy metal music and punk rock. The electric guitar has had a major influence on popular culture; the guitar is used in a wide variety of musical genres worldwide. It is recognized as a primary instrument in genres such as blues, country, folk, jota, metal, reggae, rock and many forms of pop. Before the development of the electric guitar and the use of synthetic materials, a guitar was defined as being an instrument having "a long, fretted neck, flat wooden soundboard, a flat back, most with incurved sides." The term is used to refer to a number of chordophones that were developed and used across Europe, beginning in the 12th century and in the Americas. A 3,300-year-old stone carving of a Hittite bard playing a stringed instrument is the oldest iconographic representation of a chordophone and clay plaques from Babylonia show people playing an instrument that has a strong resemblance to the guitar, indicating a possible Babylonian origin for the guitar.
The modern word guitar, its antecedents, has been applied to a wide variety of chordophones since classical times and as such causes confusion. The English word guitar, the German Gitarre, the French guitare were all adopted from the Spanish guitarra, which comes from the Andalusian Arabic قيثارة and the Latin cithara, which in turn came from the Ancient Greek κιθάρα. Which comes from the Persian word "sihtar"; this pattern of naming is visible in setar and sitar. The word "tar" at the end of all of these words is a Persian word that means "string". Many influences are cited as antecedents to the modern guitar. Although the development of the earliest "guitars" is lost in the history of medieval Spain, two instruments are cited as their most influential predecessors, the European lute and its cousin, the four-string oud. At least two instruments called "guitars" were in use in Spain by 1200: the guitarra latina and the so-called guitarra morisca; the guitarra morisca had a rounded back, wide fingerboard, several sound holes.
The guitarra Latina had a narrower neck. By the 14th century the qualifiers "moresca" or "morisca" and "latina" had been dropped, these two cordophones were referred to as guitars; the Spanish vihuela, called in Italian the "viola da mano", a guitar-like instrument of the 15th and 16th centuries, is considered to have been the single most important influence in the development of the baroque guitar. It had six courses, lute-like tuning in fourths and a guitar-like body, although early representations reveal an instrument with a cut waist, it was larger than the contemporary four-course guitars. By the 16th century, the vihuela's construction had more in common with the modern guitar, with its curved one-piece ribs, than with the viols, more like a larger version of the contemporary four-course guita
Acoustic Classics II
Acoustic Classics II is the seventeenth solo studio album by British singer/songwriter Richard Thompson. It was released by Beeswing Records on 10 August 2017. Acoustic Classics II is the second acoustic compilation album by Richard Thompson; the songs range from his time in Fairport Convention, as half of a duo with Linda Thompson and as a solo artist. The album was released on CD and digital download. On the Metacritic website, which aggregates reviews from critics and assigns a normalised rating out of 100, Acoustic Classics II received a score of 78, based on 1 mixed and 4 positive reviews. Among the critics that gave the album positive reviews, Uncut called the album "an unalloyed treat" adding that "there's something fundamentally satisfying about Thompson unplugged". Andy Gill writing in The Independent states that "there’s no dip in quality here as Richard Thompson revisits material" and Folk Radio UK call the album "one to treasure". David Honigman of TheFinancial Times writes that "this second volume Richard Thompson has recorded of acoustic cover versions of his own songs works better than the first" and Jude Rogers in The Guardian praises Thompson's "authoritative, confident voice" and "pearl-bright guitar-playing".
All tracks written by Richard Thompson except “Crazy Man Michael” by Thompson and Dave Swarbrick Richard Thompson - guitars and vocals