An incredible array of special guest performers has been announced for Richard Thompson’s 70th birthday celebration show at London’s Royal Albert Hall on September 30th 2019. This once in a lifetime concert will see eminent fellow musicians, friends and family grace the stage to mark the milestone birthday of this iconic and much respected artist.
Joining Richard Thompson on an exceptional night will be: Alistair Anderson, Ashley Hutchings, Bob Mould, Christine Collister, Danny Thompson, Dave Mattacks, Dave Pegg, David Gilmour, Derek Smalls (formerly of the band formally known as Spinal Tap), Eliza Carthy, Hugh Cornwell, Jack Thompson, James Walbourne, Judith Owen, Kami Thompson, Kate Rusby, Linda Thompson, Loudon Wainwright III, Maddy Prior, Marc Ellington, Martin Carthy, Olivia Chaney, Simon Nicol, Teddy Thompson and Zara Phillips.
Richard Thompson’s enduring musical influence and accomplishments are unparalleled. Having co-founded the ground-breaking group Fairport Convention as a teenager in the 1960s, he and his bandmates invented a distinctive strain of British folk rock. He left the group by the age of 21, followed by a decade long musical partnership with his then-wife Linda, to over 30 years as a highly successful solo artist. Thompson’s genre defying mastery of both acoustic and electric guitar along with engaging energy and onstage wit continue to earn him new fans and a place as one of the most distinctive virtuosos and writers in folk rock history. Powered by evocative songcraft, jaw-dropping guitar playing, and indefinable spirit, this venerable icon holds a coveted spot on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and counts Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Americana Music Association in Nashville and the UK Americana Music Association, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the BBC Folk Awards, a prestigious Ivor Novello Award and, of course, an OBE, among his many accolades.
A wide range of musicians have recorded Thompson’s songs including David Gilmour, Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, R.E.M., Sleater-Kinney, Del McCoury, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Jones, David Byrne, Don Henley, Los Lobos, and many more. His massive body of work includes many Grammy nominated albums as well as numerous soundtracks, including Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man. Thompson’s latest album 13 Rivers (Proper Records) was released to widespread acclaim last September and appeared on many 2018 ‘best of the year’ lists. His accompanying tour was met with glowing reviews, including The Observer, in its Artist of the Week spread, who concluded, “Half a century after his first gig with Fairport Convention, folk-rocker Richard Thompson – trademark Stratocaster and beret intact – is as cool, energetic and contemporary as ever.”
ECC Records unveil ‘Instant Replay’, a stunning vinyl-only triple album featuring 32 brand new versions of songs originally recorded between 1971 and 1981. It follows on from 2017’s highly acclaimed compilation album Self Preservation Society that featured reworkings of songs from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Like its predecessor, it has been personally curated by Mark Constantine, founder of Lush and passionate music fan, this time bringing together some of the finest funk, folk, pop and ballads of the time.
Compositions by artists as diverse as Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, Sparks, The Clash, Vangelis, Mott the Hoople and Stevie Wonder, have been reinterpreted by a galaxy of established and rising stars including Teddy Thompson, Stealing Sheep, Eliza Carthy, Jackie Oates, Marry Waterson, Bash & Pop and Honeyfeet. The result is yet another, magnificently diverse, six-sided jewel of a record.
Mark Constantine says: “There’s a trend to use the phrase ‘curated by’, but in this case it’s never been more appropriate. For me, selecting outstanding tracks from that decade to be covered by such magnificent performers has been the ultimate luxury. Some selections are obscure and overlooked greats; others are some of the most popular of the era. As you’ll see, once we started we couldn’t stop – and the digital album has even more tracks! I hope you love it as much as I do.”
Once again, this triple vinyl presents a collection of songs which may sound unlikely on paper but in reality are truly stunning in their diversity and creativity. Side A opens with Honeyfeet’s cover of the 1971 Jethro Tull song Locomotive Breath featuring a magnificent, bluesy vocal from singer Rioghnach Connolly, also heard on the uplifting hands-in-the-air cover of Vangelis’s State of Independence from Afro Celt Sound System. Stealing Sheep tackle Peter Gabriel’s Excuse Me and rework Heart’s Barracuda into an artful slice of synthpop, while Marry Waterson provides a radical reimagining of the Cure’s 10:15 Saturday Night alongside Robert Palmer’s Johnny and Mary with cello accompaniment. Elsewhere we hear a beautiful reinterpretation of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On by Teddy Thompson who goes it alone with just vocal and ukulele on Stevie Wonder’s If It’s Magic, both juxtaposed by The Kenneth’s proggy version of Werewolves of London. With 37 tracks on this delectable collection, there is a new discovery on each listen.
ECC Records was founded by Mark Constantine, founder of Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics. Simon Emmerson – record producer, guitarist, founder of Afro Celt Sound System and core founder of The Imagined Village (a collaborative work of many roots artists that includes Eliza Carthy) is its Musical Director. Read more at https://www.eccrecords.co.uk/about/
‘Instant Replay’ is released on 7 June 2019 as a triple-vinyl available from all Lush stores, selected vinyl outlets and from eccrecords.co.uk plus all the usual digital retailers (Cat # ECC100-014).
INSTANT REPLAY – Full Track Listing
Locomotive Breath – Honeyfeet
– originally appeared on Jethro Tull’s 1971 album Aqualung
– showcases Ríoghnach Connolly’s brilliant bluesy vocal and virtuoso flute playing
Tusk – The Kenneths
– title track of Fleetwood Mac’s 1979 album
The Hansbach – Gamesteacher
– taken from from Rick Wakeman’s 1974 prog rock epic, Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Barracuda – Stealing Sheep
– a complete reworking of Heart’s soft-metal track into artful synthpop
This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us – Dream Themes featuring Piney Gir
– originally a number 1 hit for Sparks in 1974
– recorded by TV theme tribute band Dream Themes, formerly the backing group for Mancunian showbiz legend Frank Sidebottom
Down And Out – Eliza Carthy
– a version of a song from Paul Williams’ Oscar-winning 1976 soundtrack to the film Bugsy Malone
– performed by the multi-award winning Eliza Carthy MBE
All The Way From Memphis – Max Poscente
– originally a hit for Mott The Hoople in 1973
– blistering sax solo comes courtesy of PJ Harvey and Tindersticks collaborator Terry Edwards
What’s Going On – Teddy Thompson
– a beautiful reinterpretation of the Marvin Gaye protest song
– Teddy’s work, both solo and with his talented family (including Richard & Linda) is widely acclaimed
Lost In The Supermarket – Sheema Mukherjee
– first appeared on The Clash’s 1979 album, London Calling
– features Sheema Mukherjee’s sitar and distinctive vocal
Who By Fire – One eskimO
– classic Leonard Cohen track with a melody based on a Hebrew prayer
– a brand new recording by Kristian Leontiou’s One eskimO project
Tubular Bells (excerpt) – Rhodri Marsden
– an excerpt from Mike Oldfield’s magnum opus
– narration comes courtesy of Simon Heyworth, co-producer of the original album
The Belfast Hornpipe – Na Cliaraí
– tune originally popularised by The Dubliners
– a collaborative effort between Honeyfeet’s Connolly and producer Richard Evans
NOTHING IN THE WORLD LIKE…
State Of Independence – Afro Celt Sound System
– Written and recorded by Yes frontman Jon Anderson and Greek synth wizard Vangelis in 1981
– Subsequently and memorably covered by Donna Summer
– A huge number of musicians involved in this epic reworking by the Afro Celts
Nothing In The World Like Love – The Free French
– the opening track from Labi Siffre’s 1971 album The Singer And The Song
Tangled Man – Green Gartside
– A rare recording by Scritti Politti frontman Green Gartside
– taken from Anne Briggs’ 1971 album The Time Has Come
Liza Radley – Jackie Oates & Barney Morse Brown
– b-side to The Jam’s 1981 hit “Start!”
– reinterpreted with cello and violin courtesy of Oates and Morse Brown
Brass In Pocket – Honeyfeet
– the first number one single of the 1980s, originally recorded by The Pretenders
Overture~Cotton Avenue – Working Week with Julie Tippetts
– First appeared on Joni Mitchell’s 1977 album Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter
– The first collaboration between Working Week and Julie Tippetts since 1989
Amsterdam – Ben Murray
– A cover of Al Stewart’s homage to the Dutch city from his 1972 album Orange
Dead Ringer – Si Nicholls
– a song from The Stranglers’ 1977 album No More Heroes
– performed by Lush’s very own father & daughter combo Simon and Libbi Nicholls
10:15 Saturday Night – Marry Waterson
– A radical reimagining of the original recording, which appeared on The Cure’s debut album, Three Imaginary Boys
– produced and arranged by solo artist Adem Ilhan, formerly of Fridge, now with Domino Records
The Kiss – Rosie Doonan
– a track from Judee Sill’s beautiful 1973 album, Heart Food
– features one of the UK’s leading harpists, Ruth Wall
Grace Darling – Atlas and The Pleiades
– features four vocalists: Rosie Doonan, Mira Manga, Jackie Oates and Angie Pollock
– the closing track of Strawbs’ 1975 album Ghosts
Still… You Turn Me On – Ben Murray
– a track from Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s fourth album, Brain Salad Surgery
– performed by actor, folk musician and singer Ben Murray
Emotional Rescue – Honeyfeet
– a version of The Rolling Stones’ falsetto single from 1979
If It’s Magic – Teddy Thompson
– Teddy goes completely solo, with just vocal and ukulele
– a song from Stevie Wonder’s Songs In The Key Of Life album (1976)
Johnny And Mary – Marry Waterson
– Robert Palmer’s 1980 song about the shallowness of male politicians and the boredom of their wives
– accompanied by Barney Morse Brown on cello
Werewolves Of London – The Kenneths
– the original is best known for its appearance in the Tom Cruise film TheColor Of Money
– recorded by Warren Zevon in 1977 with Fleetwood Mac’s rhythm section
Pulstar – Gamesteacher
– The 1976 synthesiser masterpiece by Vangelis reworked with a full band
– The current drummer of prog legends Gong provides the rhythm track for this version
Mandolin Wind – Bash & Pop
– featuring Tommy Stinson, former bassist with The Replacements and Guns N’ Roses
– original track released by Rod Stewart in 1971
You’ve Got A Friend – Martha Tilston
– One of Carole King’s best known songs, appears on her Tapestry album
– performed by singer and BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards nominee Martha Tilston
Instant Replay – Wattle & Daub
– Dan Hartman’s disco classic reworked by multi-instrumentalist Rob Smoughton (Hot Chip, Scritti Politti, Black Peaches) and his bandmate Rhodri Marsden
Excuse Me – Stealing Sheep
– A track from Peter Gabriel’s 1977 debut album
Water Bearer – Beagle & Amalthea
– The title track from the 1978 album by Sally Oldfield, sister of Mike Oldfield
Grease – Nuala Davies
– The title track of one of the highest-grossing musical films of all time
– solo violin courtesy of Jennymay Logan of The Elysian Quartet
Back To Nature – Palm Skin Productions featuring Kate Berney
– the original, an early electronica classic by Fad Gadget, was the second ever release on Mute Records
You’re So Vain – Beagle & Amalthea
– a Ronettes-style reworking of Carly Simon’s biggest hit
Trails – the debut album by Roseanne Reid, Scottish troubadour and eldest daughter of The Proclaimers’ Craig Reid – announces the official arrival of a singular new voice in folk-roots music. It was recorded in Brooklyn with an A-team of players expertly corralled by the album’s producer and an artist from fine musical stock of his own, Teddy Thompson. The album also features a guest appearance from Steve Earle, who has championed Roseanne through his songwriting camps. Pre-order Trails from March 8.
Roseanne will play her first headline London show at St Pancras Old Church, Wednesday 20 March. Support Matt Scott.
In a busy start to 2019, Roseanne toured the UK with folk-country legend Kathy Mattea, took part in auditions for the Pilton Party in Somerset (Glastonbury Festival’s annual ‘thank you’ fundraising gig for villagers, workers and local people) and recorded an interview/performance for the new series of BBC Radio 2 The Jools Holland Radio Show. She will play a live session on BBC Radio Scotland’s Another Country with Ricky Ross in April and summer dates will include Perth’s Southern Fried Festival and the famous HebCelt festival in Stornoway.
When they draw the map of authentic Americana, historians may not previously have thought of using marker pins for the cities of Edinburgh and Dundee. Now they’ll have to record the rapid rise of Roseanne Reid, whose Teddy Thompson-produced debut album Trails is released in April.
Reid’s songs conjure more from less, exuding a quiet confidence and sparse authenticity that recalls some of the genre’s leading lights such as Gillian Welch and Lucinda Williams, but with a tone that belongs to Roseanne and no one else. No wonder, then, that Americana legend Steve Earle has not only adopted Reid as a personal cause, but makes a guest appearance on the delightful ‘Sweet Annie.’
Another track on the album, ‘Amy,’ has already won prestigious recognition. It triumphed in the Lyrics Only category at the Nashville-based International Song Competition, chosen from 160,000 entries from 130 countries. Reid’s resumé also includes a 2015 nomination at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
The album’s lead single ‘I Love Her So’ is a typically clear-eyed statement, highlighting both Roseanne’s charmingly low-key vocals and some elegant instrumentation, with more than a hint of southern soulfulness. Watch the video for ‘I Love Her So’ here:
Throughout Trails, there’s an admirable and irresistible live feel which reflects the way the album was recorded, in just four days, with spontaneous musicality to the fore and not a gimmick in sight.
“Teddy is very sympathetic to this genre, what works and what doesn’t, and he’s got the experience in both areas,” says Reid of her producer. “He’s got such an unbelievable ear for these things. It was amazing to watch how he works. I feel very fortunate to have him on board.”
The fact that Teddy, like Roseanne, has music running through the family blood was only another advantage.
“That was possibly part of the appeal of working with Teddy,” she says. “He knows what it’s like, and he’s made a success of himself in his own right.”
Reid started to lay out her own artistic pathway when she learned guitar at the age of 12.
“My mum taught me my first three chords, and it went from there,” she says. “It was a very smooth transition from the initial thinking of ‘This is cool and I enjoy doing it’ to ‘This is what I want to dedicate myself to.’
“The huge plus point to my dad doing what he does is that I’ve learned first-hand what’s involved with the more business side, and the day-to-day runnings of it. It’s incredible, his work ethic, so that’s been a great thing to see.”
Reid’s attitude to having fame in the family is perfectly well-adjusted.
“To an extent, it’ll always precede me, being in the same line of work, but we’re very different songwriters and people,” she says decisively. “I don’t make it any secret of it, because I want to be honest about every part of what I do. But hopefully I can start to step out of the shadows with this album.”
Born in Leith, Roseanne grew up in Edinburgh, her home for more than 20 years until her recent relocation to Dundee to move in with her wife.
“I did a couple of high school talent shows with my little brother and one of my friends,” she says of her first steps in performance. “That gave me a taste for it and after that, I started out on the folk circuit in Edinburgh, and Leith Folk Club were really good to me. I hadn’t had any real experience and they gave me a support slot. I combined that with doing regular open mic nights.”
Her tastes were shaped by early purchases on cassette and CD, although her earliest album memory is of the time her mum and dad bought her a T. Rex greatest hits collection. As she entered her teens, her attention moved to the acoustic, firstly via Bob Dylan and then to the lesser-celebrated Peter, Paul & Mary.
“I kept going to these shops and I couldn’t get any of their albums, so whenever my dad was on tour in America, that’s what he would bring me back. Then it was a natural progression to other acoustic acts.”
Chief among those, and an inspiration to this day, was Martha Wainwright. “My mum had a couple of tickets to see Rufus Wainwright at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh and she was supporting him. It was just like lightning, it was instantaneous. She came on and she looked incredible. She started playing and it was like nothing I had ever heard. I knew very quickly from then on in that I was interested in doing this.”
As for Steve Earle’s enthusiastic support, that goes back to 2014 and Roseanne’s first visit to his songwriting workshop Camp Copperhead, held in New York’s Catskill Mountains. On open mic night, she overcame her nervousness to perform ‘Amy’ in front of him and all of the aspiring writers present. “It was terrifying, but it was a lovely reception,” she says. Earle not only had encouraging words, but invited her back in subsequent years.
With the sessions for the album due to start, she decided to go for broke with her song ‘Sweet Annie,’ which she’d written some four years earlier. “I only asked him when I was in the process of organising the recording with Teddy. I just thought that song would sound really nice as a duet. I emailed him and he said yes. Steve’s been one of my biggest supporters, which is incredible.”
Now the stage is set, for an artist whose integrity shines through in every song. “It comes from a very personal and genuine place, that’s how I’ve always done it,” she says. “Writing honestly just comes naturally to me. I don’t know how to do it any other way.”
Here is something that must have been a lot of fun to do… Released by ECC Records – 19th February 2018 – A really folking brilliant, folk-rocking and beautiful listen – Darren Beech
‘The Self Preservation Society’, a stunning vinyl-only triple compilation album, three years in the making. Personally curated by Mark Constantine, founder of Lush and a passionate music fan, the album features 34 versions of songs from the late 1960s and early 1970s, bringing together some of the finest progressive, folk and psychedelic moments of that era. Original compositions by artists as diverse as Genesis, Nick Drake, The Doors and Frank Zappa have been reinterpreted by a galaxy of established and rising stars including Teddy Thompson, Eliza Carthy, Jackie Oates, Marry Waterson, Julie Tippetts and Honeyfeet. The album captures a period of time that was rich with experimentation; an era when anything and everything could happen. The result is a magnificently diverse, six-sided jewel of a record.
Mark Constantine on Teddy Thompson’s version of The Zombies classic, She’s Not There, taken from the album…
The track is one of many “from a period of time when my friends and I were experimenting by listening to everything from West Coast bands like The Byrds to classically-inspired groups such as The Nice,” says Mark Constantine. Honoured and thrilled that that some of his favourite artists, many of whom he had worked with before, shared his enthusiasm and passion for these songs, he added, “Each track has had the deluxe treatment from a collection of great individuals, bands and producers. The result means a great deal to me, and I can’t stop listening to it.”
The album will be available from all Lush stores (plus via the amazon link below) bringing this extraordinary collection to a new audience. The record is full of breathtaking moments, many of which sound unlikely on paper but are stunning in reality. The Imagined Village’s take on Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”, featuring pounding dhol drums of Johnny Kalsi and Eliza Carthy’s incredible vocal performance, is an undoubted highlight. Barney Morse Brown’s version of Cream’s “Sunshine Of Your Love”, a face-off between layered cellos and pounding drums, adds a sinister, ghostly edge to a rock classic. Beautiful vocal performances by Jackie Oates, Rosie Doonan and Marry Waterson bring nostalgic memories of The Zombies, The Byrds and Leonard Cohen into sharp focus. And two versions of Quincy Jones’s “Get A Bloomin’ Move On” – the theme to the 1969 film The Italian Job – bookend the album.
“They were truly extraordinary times,” says Simon Heyworth, who mastered the record. “I was an avid attendee at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco… I would go to every concert I could, including Cream, Blind Faith, The Grateful Dead, Buffalo Springfield. I never saw The Zombies perform, but Teddy Thompson’s rendition of ‘She’s Not There’ is brilliant. I love the way all these recordings sound.”
‘The Self Preservation Society’ is released on heavy-weight triple-vinyl .
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‘The Self Preservation Society’ Track list:
Get A Bloomin’ Move On – The Pickled Walnuts
The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack – Beagle & Amalthea
Hocus Pocus – Man Diamond
Time Of The Season – Jackie Oates
Fresh Garbage – Julie Tippetts
I Wouldn’t Leave My Wooden Wife – Iamesh and the Secret Collective
Gunga Din – Rosie Doonan & Ben Murray
I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) – Beagle & Amalthea
Lady Eleanor – Ben Murray
As You Said – Doonan, Oates & Manga
Sunshine Of Your Love – Barney Morse-Brown
Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye – Marry Waterson
Hello, I Love You – Beagle & Amalthea
Reasons For Waiting – Honeyfeet
She’s Not There – Teddy Thompson
Riders on the Storm – The Dhol Foundation featuring Charlie Casey
Kashmir – The Imagined Village (feat Eliza Carthy)
White Rabbit – Honeyfeet
America – The Naked King
Utterly Simple – Sheema Mukherjee
For What It’s Worth – Kami Thompson
Don’t Bogart Me – Honeyfeet
Crazy Cajun Cakewalk Band – Iamesh and the Secret Collective
Lullaby – Matt Shaw & James Porter
Graveyard – Jackie Oates & Barney Morse-Brown
Terrapin – James Porter
The River – The Naked King
Montana – Iamesh and the Secret Collective
Get A Bloomin’ Move On – Dream Themes
Nantucket Sleighride – Beagle & Amalthea
Stamping Ground – Iamesh and the Secret Collective
Moonchild – The Naked King
Time Has Told Me – Ben Murray
From her debut solo album back in 1996, Carthy has never been predictable in her constant determination to both celebrate and reinvent the folk tradition and, while that may not have always endeared her to purists, it has produced a remarkable – and sometimes challenging – back catalogue. Her latest is no exception, here working with the big-band set up on her festival appearances, a 12-piece line –up that includes, among others, Beth Porter on cello, melodeonist Saul Rose, Mawkin’s David Delarre on guitar, bassist Barnaby Stradling from Blowzabella and former Bellowhead fiddler Sam Sweeney.
Aptly titled to reflect the sound, Carthy appearing on the front cover like some kind of folk Boudica leading her tooled-up army into battle, the material follows a similar pattern of self-penned originals, traditional reworks and covers, kicking off with a strident metronomic rhythm arrangement of one of ‘Fade & Fall (Love Not)’ complete with plucked cello and soaring brassy flourishes. It’s one of three Manchester Ballads, the others being equally strident shanty ‘The Sea’ with its martial beat and sweeping fiddle and, introduced with a cosmic keyboards whoosh, stumbling domestic violence number ‘Devil in the Woman’ with its repeated refrain chant ‘charming little woman”.
Staying in the traditional arena, the album’s longest and arguably most striking number sees her joined by Damien Dempsey for the eight-minute ‘I Wish That The Wars Were All Over’ (performed live onstage in the studio), a Roud ballad sung from the perspective of a soldier’s love, stemming from the American Revolution and referencing the Seven Years War, collected by the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould, from Dartmoor miner Sam Fone. Featuring a tinkling repeated piano pattern, melodeon, fiddle it has Carthy in tender vocal form, counterpointed by Dempsey’s keening longing. Interestingly, it has also been recorded by American folk artist Tim Eriksen with whom she made 2015’s Bottle album.
Ewan MacColl’s cabaret-like lurching shanty ‘The Fitter’s Song’ provides the title source, the melody a variation on ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’, with the third cover seeing her joined by the scion of another folk family dynasty, Teddy Thompson lending his voice to a rousing gospel-blues shaded treatment of Rory McLeod’s ‘Hug You Like A Mountain’ providing a showcase fiddle spotlight.
The remaining numbers are all Carthy originals, indeed the whale-themed shanty ‘Great Grey Back’ is a new treatment of a song that originally featured on Wayward Daughter, here with massed vocal backing rather than just one voice. One is an instrumental, the rousing part vocalised but wordless ‘Jack Warrell’s (Exerpt) – Love Lane’, while, another big sound, ‘Mrs. Dyer the Baby Farmer’, with its fiddle lament intro, is essentially a murder ballad concerning Victorian serial killer Amelia Elizabeth Dyer who took in babies that were unwanted or could not be cared for, ostensibly to be adopted, and despatched them to Jesus. ‘Epitaph’ closes the album on another murder ballad, here a cabaret-like tale of death by custard poisoning, Willy Molleson providing the thundering drums. The remaining track again underlines Carthy’s willingness and thirst to experiment and push the folk envelope, ‘You Know Me’ a commentary on hospitality and the refugee crisis (“the door is always open and the fires are blazing, no one ever turned away, the fruit in our garden is always good”) that, with a scratch intro and set against a dub-styled rhythm, features a rap by MC Dizraeli. Arguably her best work since 2008’s Dreams of Breathing Underwater, it further confirms her as one of the fiercest and most striking voices in contemporary folk music.
The album also comes as a deluxe edition that includes ‘Aleppo in the Sun As It Was’ from last year’s English Electric EP as well as the demo of ‘The Fitter’s Song’ and five extra tracks, including both a fiddle and vocal version of ‘Three Day Millionaire’.
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After last year’s Linda Thompson album saw a family gathering of sorts, in as much as her children, Teddy and Kami, son-in-law James, grandson Zak and ex-husband Richard, as well as his other son, Jack, variously featured on different tracks, this, as the title suggests, is much more of a united reunion. Conceived as a means of putting the family back together, Teddy contacted parents and siblings with the proposal that each should contribute two songs to the project, which he would orchestrate and produce. Everyone duly responded, writing and recordings their songs at their individual bases, which were then forwarded around the clan for overdubs, before coming together for four days in London and New York for the final recordings. They weren’t all in the room at the same time, something that might have well-tested Richard and Linda’s cautious rapprochement, but, if it wasn’t a full reunion in the flesh, it was certainly one in terms of emotion and spirit.
Embracing an overall Thompson-esque folk-rock sensibility, Teddy kicks the album off with the strumalong title track’s upfront dose of confessional therapy as, as well as referencing his own romantic implosion, he admits to the self-doubt that, can come from having parents, one of whom is “one of the greatest to ever step on a stage” and the other “has the most beautiful voice in the world”, and, as he says Sean Lennon will well know, never being quite able to be your own person, never quite able to deal with the pain. He shouldn’t beat himself up, like his own past albums and the material he wrote for mom, the song clearly shows the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree, though it would be understandable if his older sister, Muna was not best pleased by the line about how Kami “is prettier still”.
Like his dad, rock‘n’roll is also in Teddy’s blood, hence his other song, ‘Right’, a country boogie kiss-off you could imagine Dave Edmunds doing where those Roy Orbison echoes sound out. Richard’s own numbers, on which, as per Teddy’s scheme of thing, he cedes electric guitar to either Jack or James, highlight his stylistic diversity, ‘One Life At A Time,’ a swipe at people sticking their nose into others’ business, sounds curiously like Creedence’s ‘Almost Saturday Night’, while ‘That’s Enough’, with its soaring family harmonies and a lyric about the “fairy dust” and “pie in the sky” politicians keep dishing out, is firmly in the tradition of those early R&L swayalong folk rock anthems.
Zack and Jack provide a track each, the former the fingerpicking 60s folk blues ‘Root So Bitter’ and the latter ‘At The Feet Of The Emperor’, a brooding five minute guitar and bass showcase, while Kami, though initially reluctant to enter what she felt could well prove the songwriting equivalent of a pissing contest, has two credits, one solo and one with her husband. The second, which closes the album, is the rather lovely Gram and Emmylou-like yearning acoustic ballad ‘I Long For Lonely’ while the first, ‘Careful’, is a sprightly, poppy, ringing guitar (that’ll be dad) rocker of a Buckingham-Nicks persuasion. It also confirms her reservations about the competitive element in that it apparently prompted Linda to go back and rework one of her two songs in order not to be overshadowed.
Not that was ever much danger of that since, good as the second and third generation may be, it’s the parents, if only by dint of experience, shine brightest, her piano-accompanied, achingly vulnerable hymnal ‘Perhaps We Can Sleep’ and the acoustic guitar backed ‘Bonny Boys’, a mother’s heartfelt and hard won advice to her son about finding love, providing the album’s most potent emotional charge. Although the Thompsons may give the lie to the old adage (and Spirit album title) that the family that plays together stays together, the album is fulsome evidence that the bonds are far greater than the divides.
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