I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight - Island 1974
During his time with Fairport Convention Thompson matured a lot as a songwriter and many of the band's early favourites were either written or co-written by Thompson. His inspiration by traditional British music also became still more clear. Many of the songs on "Henry" and "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight" actually sound like they were traditional folk-songs.
His collaboration with Linda lasted for 8 years and resulted in 6 great albums. This their first is often regarded as the strongest with Richard's songwriting extraordinary inspired and varied, and his distictive voice blends beautifully with Linda's on these great songs.
The terrific opener "When I Get to the Border", sung by Richard, is catchy with optimistic lyrics. A little unsual for Thompson, whose lyrics often are dark and sad. Equally catchy ( and optimistic ) is the title track which deserved to be hit beautifully sung by Linda. Heartbreakingly beautiful is also the sad ballad "Withered and Died", sung by Linda in way that makes you think of her friend Sandy Denny.
The dark side of Richard's songwriting become apprent on songs like "Down Where the Drunkards Roll", "Has He Got a Friend For Me" and especially "The End of the Rainbow" . Even the catchy "We'll Sing Hallelujah" has some pretty dismal lyrics. The budget for this album was supposedly very limited, but it does show anywhere. Great arrangements, crisp sound and best of all strong songwriting and palying from first track till the closer "The Great Valerio".
The bonus-tracks are 3 1975 live-recordings - nice to have but some may find that they disturb the very consistent feel of the original album, which I won't hesitate to call a masterpiece.