richard thompson

Richard Thompson is among the most admired guitarists and songwriters in folk-rock music, and in the 1980s and '90s, he moved from a fervent cult following to broader exposure while maintaining critical accolades for his biting guitar work and sardonic songs. He was a founding member of Fairport Convention, the most important British folk-rock group to emerge in the 1960s, and he recorded five albums with them -- Fairport Convention (June 1968), What We Did on Our Holidays (January 1969), Unhalfbricking (July 1969), Liege and Lief (December 1969), and Full House (July 1970). Quitting the group in January 1971, he made his debut solo album, Henry the Human Fly (June 1972), before forming a duo with his wife Linda. The Thompsons released six albums -- I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (April 1974), Hokey Pokey (March 1975), Pour Down like Silver (November 1975), First Light (November 1978), Sunnyvista (1979), and Shoot Out the Lights (1982), before breaking up personally and professionally. In 1981, Thompson had made a second solo album of instrumentals, Strict Tempo!; with 1983's Hand of Kindness, his first charting album, he relaunched his solo career. (Five years later, Jo-el Sonnier took "Tear-Stained Letter," from the album, into the Country Top Ten.) Thompson followed with an acoustic live album, Small Town Romance (1984). He had recorded primarily for Island Records or his friend and producer Joe Boyd's Hannibal/Carthage labels, and his albums had been distributed inconsistently in the U.S. With Across a Crowded Room (February 1985), he moved to Polydor, a major. The album spent more than three months in the U.S. charts. Polydor seems to have expected better sales than that, however, and after Daring Adventures (October 1986), Thompson left for Capitol Records, for which he has made Amnesia (October 1988), Rumor and Sigh (May 1991), Mirror Blue (February 1994), and You? Me? Us? (April 1996). Thompson's earlier work has been reissued extensively by Hannibal Records through Rykodisc, including a three-disc retrospective, Watching the Dark (April 1993). Beat the Retreat (October 1994), a tribute album featuring Thompson's songs performed by R.E.M., Bob Mould, Bonnie Raitt, Los Lobos, and David Byrne, among others, offered further testimony to the high regard in which Thompson is held.



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