Saturday, February 23, 2013

Richard Thompson

Colston Hall Bristol

Richard Thompson is a folkgod. He wrote Beeswing, which may actually be the best "authored" folksong ever. I remember when there were some folkies having a session in the Hillgrove and one of them started to sing Beeswing and pub went quiet, or our table, anyway. And also the one about the motorbike. And the one that Norma Waterson sings about meeting the old opera singer in the pub. And the other one that Norma Waterson sings called "God Loves a Drunk". And From Galway to Graceland that I remember Ron Kavana singing in the tiny little room above the pub in Clifton. And Meet on the Ledge.

The drummer tonight was awesome. I don't know anything about drummers, but I could tell he was awesome. I think that all the songs were off the new album; I didn't know any of them, and I couldn't hear the words because the drummer was being awesome.Thompson was being awesome on his guitar, I think, and so was the other guy on the other guitar. I do not go as far as the person who said that guitar solos are basically masturbating on the stage. 

The first time I heard the band currently trading as Fairport Convention, I didn't think a great deal of them, but then I heard them as Fairport Acoustic Convention and quite liked them, and some of the old discography has grown on me a lot, although I wish it didn't remind me so much of the Wombles, which only proves that influence runs backwards. I have heard Ashley Hutchings once and Dave Swarbrick lots of times. 

Very possibly at some point a light will go off above my head and I will see what other people see in  Richard Thompson's current incarnation. The audience were standing-ovation-ecstatic and a couple of people I respect have written things on line about how gobsmacked they were by the physical quality of his guitar playing. Someone pointed out that he is astonishingly prolific and a good way of writing several of the best songs ever written is to write a lot of not such good ones as well. 

There was a man who came on before who sang songs about liking other places but being happy when he was on his way home to Texas and Bible belt churches not being great places to gow up. He was very good and I could hear all the words. 

I did not shout judas. 

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