Thursday, September 17, 2020

Certain Songs #1916: Richard & Linda Thompson – “Shoot Out The Lights” | Medialoper

Album: Shoot Out The Lights
Year: 1982

I never know quite what to do in the case of a beloved cult artist of whose cult I’m not really a member. Take the case of Richard Thompson, who has been thrilling people with his guitar pyrotechnics for over 50 years, but I’ve never really connected with. And lord knows I’ve tried off-and-on over the years.

In any event, the only album that ever fully stuck with me was 1982’s bitter break-up album, Shoot Out The Lights, the final album Richard Thompson ever recorded with his ex-wife Linda. They ended up making a half-dozen in the decade after Thompson left Fairport Convention, and to me, Shoot Out The Lights is the best.

That said, it’s really weird to post “Shoot Out The Lights” under “Richard & Linda Thompson,” as Linda is nowhere to be found. It’s pretty much all Richard: vocals, lyrics, and holy shit, guitar.

In the dark, who can see his face?
In the dark, who can reach him?
He hides like a child
He hides like a child
Keeps his finger on the trigger
You know he can’t stand the day
Shoot out the lights
Shoot out the lights

Over a slow riff child of Link Ray’s “Rumble,” featuring a beat that’s slower than slow, Thompson plays several guitar solos that utterly extraordinary in their ability to mix flurries of notes with a shitton of space. And at least this one time, I can see why so many of you are so into him, as every single one of his solos is a whole universe in and of itself.

“Shoot Out The Lights”

“Shoot Out The Lights” Live on Spectacle with Elvis Costello

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