Late Night Music Thread

My nomination for the most criminally under-appreciated and unknown songwriter of the last 40 years goes to the still-amazing Richard Thompson. By the gods, look at his damn guitar pickin’ skillz:

He can write songs that make accordions rock too:

And here he is playing guitar with his olde bande the Fairport Convention last year:

This is just a sampler of why the guy kicks ass. Consider this my attempt to educate the ig’nant masses 🙂


Comments: 64


Can we have some love for Jeff Buckley as well, maybe? I think I’ve just fallen in love with him, too – after having just fallen in love with Rufus Wainwright not too long ago.

With one of them dead and the other gay, I feel sure my fickle ways will not offend anyone.


Buckley was good, but he’s not Richard Thompson. No one is, no one ever will be. Again (and maybe you have to be a guitar player to appreciate it), just LOOK at playing on “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” and “Beeswing.” The guy’s a beast/


I gots love for everybody tonight, Brad!


well i wouldn’t go so far as to say “no is, no one ever will be” – there are many fine folk guitarists, but yes, he is sublime. (too bad you youngpunkzters weren’t around to see Fairport Convention…ah thems were the days. don’t mind me rubbin’ it in…)

alone in the dark

Thompson is one of only a handful of guitarists who have a unique voice on both acoustic and electric. Toss in his amazing songwriting and you have a truly mesmerizing artist. I saw him in Lawrence, KS, in the early ’90s. Three hours never flew by so fast. Guy is a monster.


What’s incredible about him is he STILL WRITES GREAT SONGS. Most people start phoning it in by their third album. He’s been a great songwriter for 40 years now.

alone in the dark


“Dad’s Gonna Kill Me” ring a bell?


A freakish talent – songwriting skills alone – and a very funny man so it’s hard to blame him when he makes you feel as shitty as you can possibly feel.

a different brad

I can’t say a thing about songwriters, but when it comes to underappreciated guitar players I think any discussion has to begin with Sonny Sharrock n Fred Frith.
But then my tastes tend towards the instrumental and experimental.


If I may be so bold as to flog my brother’s gorgeous guitars. He’s one of the best flamenco and classical guitar makers in the world. (In addition to an astounding variety of instruments he is capable of building, he can play virtually any stringed instrument and is largely self-taught. A fucking genius he is and doesn’t know it. I’m very proud of him. Comes by it honestly. Great grandad built violins for a living. Dad and mom are both pianists. His son is a classical pianist and violinist. Naturally, neither my sister nor I can do squat musically…just appreciate!).


Troll Kevin is correct. Hippies!!! Folk music!! Pyew!
Technical question: Do you use the imbed function or the “post to your blog”
thingy? ‘Cause on my Blogger-powered scream into nothingness, the imbeds never work, (the HTML is alwayd f’ed up) & the post to your blog deal works about half the time. You’d think YouTube & Blogger, being part of the vast RW Google conspiracy, could be made to work together. You’d think, but you’d be wrong.


[…] Some Mad Guitar for a Saturday Night Filed under: Entertainment — Andre the Defiant @ 10:34 pm Via Brad at Sadly, No! […]

alone in the dark

a different brad,

Thompson’s played with Fred Frith in French/Frith/Kaiser/Thompson. RT can hang with anybody. Thompson’s as experimental as anybody out there. Check out “Strict Tempo” for a taste of his early instrumental work.


I can’t say a thing about songwriters, but when it comes to underappreciated guitar players I think any discussion has to begin with Sonny Sharrock n Fred Frith.

I love Fred Frith, but maybe he’s appreciated about the right amount: he makes music that’s really hard for most people to deal with. Still a crying shame that Joe Satriani ever came near – and stomped the bloody shit out of – the sales figures for Frith’s Guitar Solos.

Thompson picks up still more cool points via collaborations with Frith and others.


Beaten to the punch.


Man, that duet with Jo-El Sonnier is cool as hell. Sonnier’s cover of “Tear-Stained Letter” is how I got introduced to Richard Thompson. My Old Man digs the Cajun music, and Sonnier is a big name and has been for a while. For the longest time, he was Nashville’s go-to guy for accordian and Cajun-type stuff. He’s been making accordian’s rock for nearly three decades, for what it’s worth.

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing both men, too, and both are just as nice as can be. However, communication was a chore, what with Thompson’s vaugely upper-class British accent, Jo-El’s thick Cajun patios and my Mississippi drawl. Still, music, the universal language. Bon ton roulet, y’all.

a different brad

Ok then, I stand corrected.
I wonder if Thompson has ever worked with Laswell.

alone in the dark

Wall of Death!!!! Wall of Death!!!!


I wonder if Thompson has ever worked with Laswell.

Yes, via the Golden Palominos.

a different brad

Ohhhhhhhhhh, jebus. I have them albums, too. Little too all over the place for my tastes.
If yer gonna be all knowing, did Thompson ever work with Massacre?


Geez, not that I know of or I’ll be forced to shoot myself for missing it. Doesn’t seem like his bag though.

a different brad

Didn’t think so, but if he’s been around a while you never know considering how them downtown projects went in the early 80s. Or last exit, maybe, with sonny?
I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Zorn play in with Massacre and Graham Hayes at the Knitting Factory back before it went indie.


Haha hippies! I saw Richard Thompson in concert in Boston in ’85 after he broke from Fairport Convention for good. I hate to agree with Gavin or any of his pseudonyms, but Thompson is the best of hippie songwriters, along with Jorma Kaukonen. Both are underappreciated geniuses.

Hah! I’m hippier than you! Admit it! Heh, hippies. Support the troops, and their mission.


And what’s up with that goofy ‘favicon’? Use this, royalty free, since I kind of stole it from you. Good Lord, I get that you’re not brilliant, since you’re liberals, but geez, can’t you at least advertise your product?

This comment is not meant to be ready by blog readers. Please disregard it.


Kevin- I’m not Gavin, dumbass. Seriously.


I take this to mean we’re one step away from a post on Nick Drake. Hooray!


Does Kevin know Thompson converted to Islam in the 80’s? That’s what “First Light” is about. Kevin loves something Islamic! (Cue head exploding…)


Also, he does a great Britney Spears cover.


Ted, dammit, you beat me to that.

Yes, if you want to know exactly how phenomenal a musician Richard Thompson is, you need look no further than 1000 Years of Popular Music, in which he not only really goes back through a whole millennium, but he turns “Whoops I Did It Again” into a listenable song.

Yngwie Malmsteen

Bow before me, mortals.

Phil Moskowitz, Lovable Rogue.

Don’t know if it is still in print but Thompson’s album Small Town Romance is one of the finest live, solo accoustic preformances ever put on vinyl, . And you have not lived until you’ve seen Jorma on a boat full of hippies and bikers cruising around Manhattan.

alone in the dark

Ever hear Thompson’s cover of Prince’s “Kiss”? The most stalkerrific interpretation ever! And what I love about his cover of “Oops…” is that it sounds like what he’s done again is dismember the girl he thought he loved.

RT rules!!!


That’s beautiful work, Lesley. Are other images of the guitars he’s made available?

Phil Moskowitz, Lovable Rogue.

“Thompson converted to Islam in the 80’s?”

Not just Islam but Sufiism, the mystical form of Islam. SunnyVista is heavilly influenced by Sufi ideas.


Brad R.

Maybe so, but you’ll always be a Gavin to me.

Dr BDH said: “Does Kevin know Thompson converted to Islam in the 80’s? That’s what “First Light” is about. Kevin loves something Islamic! (Cue head exploding…)”

*sniff* No, I didn’t know that. It may make you feel good to know that this information hurts me. I’m glad to know it didn’t f’ up his music like it did to Cat Stevens (yeah, I know his music is gay, but I still like it), but it’s sad he chose a life of submission over a life of free will. It’s especially sad since he was among the coolest of liberals. It (hopefully) makes you wonder why a liberal would choose a religion that is so ultra-conservative and ‘by the book’ that it makes a standard conservative/libertarian like myself reel. Is liberalism REALLY that far from ultra-right-wing-conservatism?

(Hah! ‘Moonshadow’ just came on winamp :). Even your hippiest hippies are out-hippied by me! Peace, man.)


Ok, after listening to ‘Sloth’ written by Thompson, it’s pretty clear that he has a problem connecting cause and effect.

“Just a roll, just a roll
Just a roll on your drum.
Just a roll, just a roll,
and the war has begun”

So it’s understandable that he would choose Islam as his religion. I mean, if he thinks banging on a drum causes war, how far-fetched is it to believe that submission to some ubergod is the right way to go?

Still, very sad.


Good Lord, he’s good though. In WOW terms,he’s plus 5 guitar. So sad he went the submission route. Dr BHD, you’ve cut me to the core with your facts. Words can’t express how devastating this information is. If we were having a duel, you would have won.


“Thompson converted to Islam in the 80’s?”



I honestly think that “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” is one of the dozen finest songs ever written. It does more in a handful of verses than most songs do all day. I’ve heard it many, many times, in many, many versions (including a fine bluegrass one by Del McCoury), yet every time, it still reaches right inside me, stops my heart for a few moments, and then mercifully sets it beating again and sends it on its way, a little wider than before. Serious juju that Richard Thompson has.

Phil Moskowitz, Lovable Rogue.

“chose a life of submission over a life of free will.”

Isn’t the act of chosing an exercise of free will? In Christianity how is the concept of free will any different than other religions. Either do what Jesus tells you or go to hell;nice choice.

So it’s submit or die or do as the Good Book says or suffer eternal damnation-they both suck.


Richard Thompson’s music is gorgeous. Right now I’m totally into his Harry Smith Project version of Coo Coo (with Eliza Carthy on violin and Garth Hudson on accordion). Great picking and drone. (you can find it on YouTube)

He’s not just folk though — plenty of rock and electric. The guy really is a monster musician and a great writer.


Yes Phil, submission could be the last act of someone with free will. After that, free will is gone. I’m not very fluent in Christianity, but I know a few things. First, Christianity doesn’t translate into ‘submission’ like Islam does. Second, I think (but am not sure) that a Christian won’t blow himself up in the hopes of killing others for his God. The latter reason is why I dig Christianity. (did you see how I used the word ‘dig’ just like you hippies? It’s all for you, my hippie friends.)

Equate them if you want, but you’ll be wrong. That’s par for the course for Democrats though. Being wrong comes natural for them.


Svensker, He’s not just folk, but that’s his “I don’t know what” (still boycotting the french language). Sure, he’s good with an electric guitar, but put him on an acoustic, and he’s better than Hot F’n Tuna. That’s saying alot. Like a God. Thompson is to guitar what that Jethro Tull guy was to drums.

Also, hippies suck (gotta keep up appearances).

Phil Moskowitz, Lovable Rogue.

Are you deliberately obtuse? “Christianity doesn’t translate into ’submission’ like Islam does” Nice semantics man (see I called you man like all the good hippies do when they are rapping) I think Christianity translates as a follower of Christ. I don’t see much difference between following god or submitting to god. It’s all do as some authority tells you or suffer the consequences.
“a Christian won’t blow himself up in the hopes of killing others for his God.”
Maybe not but history is full of Christians killing others for their god w/o taking the martyrs route. Besides suicide bombing is more of a cultural thing than a religious thing isn’t it. When was the last time an American muslim blew themselves up at the local Sbaros?


Website talk: Grats on putting the new ‘favicon’ up! That round red thing was ugly as hell. Here’s another problem: It takes almost a minute to post stuff here. That’s unacceptable, even for a liberal site (that claims to be progressive… hah! Do you even know what ‘progress’ means?) Are you using perl/wordpress? You should consider switching to a faster system like

Just a head’s up.


I saw RT on Tuesday night. He was great.

My understanding of sufiism (from a sufi friend) is that it incorporates some traditions of Islam but is not a “wholly owned subsidiary” so to speak. It’s a bit of this and a bit of that, in other words, and far more mystical than your standard monotheistic faiths. Funny how it seems to appeal to guitar virtuosos (RT, Fripp, my friend).


Phil, yes, I am often deliberately obtuse. And nice work throwing in the ‘man’ reference! I found that to be groovy :). However, I’m sad to see that you don’t find any difference between a ‘follower’ and a ‘submitter’. I’m unsure how to respond to such a statement. (Embarrassment alert) I think I’m going to have to call my mom (a Psychologist…she’s smart… for a girl) to find out how to convince someone that one word is very different from another! I’ll get back to you,

But down to the meat of things: I don’t equate the Spanish Inquisition killing a muslim 400 years ago with a muslim blowing up a dozen innocents today. We could probably agree that Christianity was as horrible in the past as Islam is today, but what point would that serve? The current situation is that only scumbags from the religion of Islam are killing people in their God’s name. Beyond that, I don’t care a flip about what religion you follow. When Christians start blowing stuff up, expect me to be willing to crush them, USMC style.

Oh yeah, and hippies suck.


Richard Thompson would be superhumanly great even if he were a Scientologist. Well, maybe I overstate, but you get it.

A fucking Hendrix-level master. And like Hendrix, quite possibly an extraterrestrial.



Fripp too? Thanks Jean for mentioning that it’s Sufism, but,… ouch! Has Eno succumbed as well? Did Sandy Denny worship that heinous god-thing before she died? How many other great bands were destroyed by Islam? Give it to me straight, Mrs. Arf. Have all of King Crimson fallen?


Richard Thompson once inhaled a seagull and killed Wolfman Jack with a trident.


And for Kevin, the lyrics of that mindless drone who “submitted”, penned in 2001 or 2002:

God never listened to Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker lived in vain
Blasphemer, womanizer
Let a needle numb his brain
Wash away his “Monkey Music”
Damn his demons, damn his pain

What’s the point of Albert Einstein?
What do we need physics for?
Heresy’s his inspiration
Which side was he working for?
Curse his devious mathematics
Curse his deadly atom war

There’s a message on the wind
Calling me to glory somewhere
There are signs too deep for the dumb
Like perfume in the air
And when I get to heaven
I won’t realize that I’m there

Shakespeare, Isaac Newton
Small ideas for little boys
Add them to the senseless chatter
Add them to the background noise
Hard to hear my oratory
Hard to hear my inner voice

Van Gogh, Botticelli
Scraping paint onto a board
Color is the fuel of madness
That’s no way to praise the Lord
Gray’s the color of the pious
Knelt upon the misericord

There’s a message on the wind
Calling me to glory somewhere
There are signs too deep for the dumb
Like perfume in the air
And when I get to heaven
I won’t realize I’m there

I’m familiar with the cover
I don’t need to read the book
I police the world of action
Inside’s where I never look
Got no time to help the worthless
Lotus-eaters, mandarins, crooks

There’s a message on the wind
Calling me to glory somewhere
There are signs too deep for the dumb
Like perfume in the air
And when I get to heaven
I won’t realize that I’m there

Suck it, cobag.

Phil Moskowitz, Lovable Rogue.

Hey Kevvy, I didn’t know that Eric Rudolph, James Kopp and Paul Hill were working for Torquemada. Live & Learn
Follow-5. to obey or conform to. 11.To be under the leadership of or authority of.

Submission- The act of submitting to some power or authority.

Hippies may suck but that doesn’t mean they don’t know a synonym when they see one.

Maybe you spend some more time around your mom.


Thanks Mr. Boy. I too am sad to see him submit. Not sure what a ‘cobag’ is, but I bet it’s bad! Let’s all pray for him, huh?

Hey Philly! I didn’t know that either! But are you attempting to say that following is the same as submitting? Because if you are in the NY metro area, my Mom can fix you up. She mostly deals with ‘deeper issues’, but I’d bet 25 cents that she can clear up your inability to differentiate between the words ‘follow’ and ‘submit’! Bet?


Hmm. Bad tags I guess. My fault.


Indeed. Perhaps you shouldn’t have submitted.

Phil Moskowitz, Lovable Rogue.

“inability to differentiate between the words ‘follow’ and ’submit”

synonym |?sin??nim| noun a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language, for example shut is a synonym of close.

In my example substitute follow for shut and submit for close. I hope this makes it easier to follow along.

“She mostly deals with ‘deeper issues’

Ask her to explain projection to you.

When you were in the Corps were you in recon, because you have a natural ability to evade.


“Ask her to explain projection to you.”

Do I have to? Once she gets rolling with that therapeutic mumbo jumbo, it’s hard to get her to stop. Plus, I already know what it means, though I’m unsure where you are suggesting I’m doing it.

Just to be clear, you ARE saying that you believe ‘follow’ is synonymous with ‘submit’, right? I like to put words in people’s mouths, but not in this case.


Did anyone see the Documentary (I think it was called “Into The Void”) about the production of the “Grizzly Man” soundtrack? Richard Thompson with a guitar and Werner Herzog. It is magnificent.


Hey Thompson-heads, anyone have a verdict on his latest? “The Old Kit Bag” was pretty mediocre at best, although “Front Parlour Ballads” is entirely listenable. I fear that although his guitar chps are more impressive than ever, he might have spent his writing muse.

Phil Moskowitz, Lovable Rogue.

“Just to be clear, you ARE saying that you believe ‘follow’ is synonymous with ’submit’, right? I like to put words in people’s mouths, but not in this case.”

Engaging you is synonymous with hitting your head with a hammer: you know you shouldn’t do it but you have heard that the dizzy feeling can be fun. Eventually though both activities leave you with a big pain in the head a distinct loss of the ability to think rationally.


BTW, “First Light” might be one of the more explicit albums dealing with Islam/Sufism (see especially “Sweet Surrender”), but Thompson’s conversion was, as noted above, much earlier. Sufi themes are also all over much earlier albums, notably “Pour Down Like Silver” (which may be the first post-conversion record). “Night Comes In” is in large measure about the Dervish experience — going into a completely dissociative trance while dancing, to wit “Dancing ’til my feet don’t touch the ground/Lose my mind in dance forever/Turn my world around.”

Not that there’s anythign wrong with it.


Engaging you is synonymous with hitting your head with a hammer: you know you shouldn’t do it but you have heard that the dizzy feeling can be fun.

Apology accepted, Phil.

alone in the dark

Sebastian Dangerfield,

Sweet Warrior is a fine CD. It’s been in heavy rotation at my house since I got it and I think it’s his best in quite some time.


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