HOME | SAQ | LINKS | MAIL
Bryan Ferry: Frantic ( released in April/2002 Rating 3+)
1.It's All Over Now Baby Blue
4.Goddess of Love
5.Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
6.Nobody Loves Me
7.Ja Nun Hons Pris
8.Fool for Love
12.One Way Love
13.I Thought Produced by Rhett Davies, Colin Good and Bryan Ferry
This is the first Ferry's album in 20 years which exceeded my expectation. So, why rating 3+? This is mainly because my expectation level became lower in this 20 years. As for the post-Roxy solo albums, my rating should be: "Boys and Girls" (1985) 4 , "Bete Noire" (1987) 3, "Taxi" (1993)3+, "Mamouna" (1994) 3+, "As Time Goes By" (1999) 2. So, this album should be average.
Well, this is a good album. I like it because there is no "Avalon" sound here anymore; I have listened to "Avalon" too many times. This is much natural Ferry. He covers two Dylan songs, "It's All Over..." and "Don't Think Twice...". (In Japanese edition, there is a bonus track "I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know". This is not Dylan's song, but he covered this in "Selfportrait".) Ferry used to cover Dylan's songs in the past, "A Hard Rain..." and "It Ain't Me Babe". I think Dylan should be one of his roots, and this is kind of back to roots things. The best song for me is "I Thought " . This is co-written with Brian Eno, sounds like Eno's early solo songs, particularly "Mother Whale Eyeless". I strongly wish there would have been co-written songs in early Roxy album. And "Goddess of Love" & "Hiroshima" have very ferry-ish melody line.
I don't like the cover art. I don't like most of cover art of post-Roxy solos, but this is the worst. Inside photos look like I saw them before somewhere. Are they the photos of recent years? Or photo of 10 years ago? Does Ferry always look alike, taking the same pose? If the art work were better, my rating could be 4. Anyway, I think I will hear this for a while.
Elvis Costello: When I Was Cruel (released in April/2002 Rating 4)
3.Tear Off Your Own Head (It's A Doll Revolution)
4.When I Was Cruel No. 2
5.Soul For Hire
12.Daddy Can I Turn This?
13.My Little Blue Window
14.Episode Of Blonde
15.Radio Silence Produced by The Imposter
This is Costello's album. This is a rock album. This is good as always. Is there any more thing to say? So amazing how he can keep the song writing quality through the years!
Roger Eno/Kate St. John: The Familiar (Released in 1994, Rating 3)
1.Our Man in Havana
2.The Wonderful Year
3.We Stay Still
4.Rain Outside an Open Door
5.Song of Songs
8.In a Lonely World
9.Days of Delay
10.I've Been Searching
13.The Blue Sea
Produced by Bill Nelson & Roger Eno
Kate St. John is the classical trained oboe and multi-wind instrument player. She might be best known as a member of the Dream Academy in the 80s. I was surprised to find her name as a saxophone player in Van Morrison's records in the 90s. And, much surprised to find her name in the Portsmouth Sinfonia recently! The Portsmouth Sinfonia record was released in 1974. So, John has a long musical carrier. I don't know when she was born, but she still looks young and lovely. This makes me surprised. And of course the width of her musical activities surprises me as well.
She had long been a wind instrument player, and didn't sing until this collaboration album with Roger Eno. Roger Eno recognized John had a beautiful voice, and recommended her to sing. John had never thought herself as a singer, but she tried it in some tracks in this record. It was very good. So, her new carrier as a singer started here discreetly.
John's singing is charming and the music is good, but this is not an excellent album as a whole. It is gentle and lovely record, but lacks something.
Kate St. John: Indescribable Night (Released in 1995, Rating 5)
1.There Is Sweet Music Here That Softer...
3.Now the Night Comes Stealing In
5.Le Premier Bonheur du Jour
6.Green Park Blues
7.Wherefore Art Thou
9.On the Bridge
11.Shadows of Doubt
Produced by Joseph Racaille and Kate St. John
This is Kate St. John's solo debut album. This is too beautiful to be describe in words. Indescribable night, truly it is.
The compositions mostly done by herself are really sophisticated, and the sound is classical, jazzy, and European. She uses the instruments like harp and vibraphone very beautifully. And her voice and singing! She sings in sweet and gentle whispering voice, it is so lovely. Just like in cover art of this album, she stands in the dusk of European old town, and whispers to you, sometimes in French. Gorgeous!
Kate St. John: Second Sight (Released in 1997, Rating 4)
1.Don't They Know You've Gone
2.Where the Warm Winds Blow
3.Songs and Silhouettes
4.A Flicker of Gold
5.My Lonely Love
6.Notti Senza Amore
9.A Foolish Dance
11.Colonel's Sinnott's Song of Love
Produced by Kate St. John & Joseph Racaille
This is her second album as a solo artist. The sound is almost same as the first one, but a little bit brighter and colorful. Sometimes, sounds like European traditional dance music. I prefer the first one, but this is very good too.
I am waiting for her next album. I really don't want her to end up as a two album artist.
Linda Thompson: Dreams Fly Away (Released in 1996, Rating 4+)
2.Walking on a Wire*
3. I Live Not Where I Love *
4.Sometimes It Happens*
5.For Shame of Doing Wrong
6.Talking Like A Man*
8.Shay Fan Yan Ley *
9.One Clear Moment *
12.Many Dreams Must Fly Away*
13.I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight
14.The Great Valerio*
15.Insult To Injury *
16.The Poor Boy Is Taken Away
18.Telling Me Lies
19.I'm a Dreame*
20.Dimming of the Day* (* previously unreleased or rare demo,live etc)
Six albums of Richard and Linda Thompson are simply classics. You must have all of them if you don't have them yet. They are: I Want to See the Bright Light Tonight (1973), Hokey Pokey (1974), Pour Down Like Silver (1975), First Light (1978), Sunnyvista (1979), Shoot Out the Lights (1982).
They might not be commercially successful, but truly the treasures for all music lovers, not only for the British folk and rock listeners. The songs Richard Thompson wrote were very profound and flawless. And his guitar solos are really exciting. And, more than all these things, the voice and singing of Linda Thompson were deeply moving. She seemed to be the best singer to sing Richard Thompson's songs. In terms of vocal technique and emotional expression, Sandy Denny might be greater than Linda Thompson. But Linda Thompson is surely charming in her plain and natural expression, which reaches so deep to our soul directly. Her singing consoles the sorrow, and, at the same time, the beauty of her singing give us a kind of powerlessness.
This compilation gathers Linda Thompson's works from 1972 to 1987. This contains many unreleased and rare tracks, they are as great as the released versions.This is the best of Linda Thompson, not a rare tracks collection for the collectors. All of the songs are great. I will only write something about previously unreleased tracks which were especially impressive to me. (I think I will review all of Richard & Linda Thompson albums sometimes in the future, and some of Richard Thompson's solo works.)
The first highlight of this compilation is Walking on a Wire, which is the alternate version of the song in Shoot Out the Lights (1982). This is not very different from the released version. But the singing seems to be better in this version.
The second highlight for me is First Light and Pavanne. First Light is the demo acoustic version and Pavanne is live acoustic version. They are sung only with one acoustic guitar. So naked and so pure. Linda Thompson writes about Pavanne, which is the song about a female terrorist:
Written about the time of the Baader-Meinhof gang. live in Germany, it's a wonder someone didn't shoot me half way through. Actually, I always wanted to be my own terrorist organization - blow myself up and start again.
The third highlight is the last two songs. I'm a Dreamer and Dimming of the Day. They are live versions of the songs, and so moving. I'm a Dreamer is one of the greatest songs of Sandy Denny. This version is played with Richard Thompson in 1980. Along with Richard's great guitar solos, this version even exceeds the original. Linda Thompson writes about this song:
A great song, unbearably sad. one of the incomparable Sandy Denny's greatest songs. It has the greatest opening three words I've ever heard. The song really sums up Sandy.
The original version of Dimming of the Day, which appeared as a kind of hidden track in Pour Down Like Silver (1975), is one of the greatest performance of Linda Thompson. This live version recorded in 1987 is also breathtakingly beautiful. While the original version is in simple arrangement, this live version is with more musicians. Linda Thompson writes:
I have a nice memory of "Dimming of the Day". Albert Lee introduced me to the Everlys at a gig and said that I was the dimming of the day lady; they said they loved the song and sang it to me while Don held my hand.
This album also includes the notes, "The Linda Thompson History". This is the nice biography of Linda Thompson.
Linda Thompson: One Clear Moment (Released in 1985, Rating 3)
A 1.Can't Stop the Girl
2.One Clear Moment
3.Telling Me Lies
4.In Love With the Flame
5.Les Trois Beaux Oiseaux de Paradis B
1.Take Me on the Subway
2.Best of Friends
3.Hell, High Water and Heartache
4.Just Enough to Keep Me Hanging On
5.Lover Won't You Throw Me a Line
6.Only a Boy [live] Produced by Hugh Murphy
This is the solo debut album of Linda Thompson after the break of the duet with Richard Thompson; they divorced after Shoot Out the Lights (1982), which captured the private crisis of their relationship.
I expected to hear some kind of continuation of Richard and Linda Thompson Albums. But this is not like them at all. Linda Thompson was trying very hard to be different from them. The sound was more like the 80s pops with synthesizers. And this didn't sound successful to me at all. So, I haven't hear this album for 17 years.
But I heard this again the other day to write this review. My impression has changed a little. I didn't like the easy sound production of this record, but it was not too bad; it does not prevent me to enjoy the music itself. Linda Thompson tried compositions, and they are good. (She was under very heavy pressure because she had been working with the great song writers like Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny.)
And her singing is good. The song I love best is Just Enough to Keep Me Hanging On. The sound of this song is also electronic pop, but the arrangement in this song is best fit to the voice of Linda Thompson. I wonder why this song was not picked up in Dreams Fly Away (1996).
Yes, this album is enjoyable. Maybe, this is because I finally know this is NOT the last album of Linda Thompson.
Linda Thompson: Fashionably Late (Released in 2002, Rating 4+)
3.All I See
4.Nine Stone Rig
7.The Banks of the Clyde
9.Paint and Powder Beauty
10.Dear Old Man of Mine Produced by Edward Haber
This is the first album of Linda Thompson in 17 years! And this is as great as the classical albums of Richard and Linda Thompson. So, this is the "true" Linda Thompson album in 20 years!
The album starts with Dear Mary. I heard this song without reading credits. The guitar solo was so beautiful amd fluent, giving the intimate harmony to the voice of Linda Thompson. Then, that voice appeared. Oh, this is Richard Thompson! Yes, it was him.
There are also gorgeous guest appearances, Van Dyke Parks, Rufus Wainwright, Danny Thompson, Dave Mattacks, Dave Pegg, Chris Cutler etc. But, of course, their appearances are just a part. We can hear the beautiful voice and singing of Linda Thompson again. And the great songs which Linda Thompson mostly co-wrote with Teddy Thompson, the son of Richard and Linda Thompson. The sound seems to be the coming- back to the basic British trad and folk style. This album bring me back to the 70s; it is not a nostalgia.
This is literally the coming back of the voice. According to "The Linda Thompson History", Linda Thompson lost her voice in 1988 by hysterical dysphonia. I don't know when and how she recovered, and why she started singing again. Richard Williams, the writer of"The Linda Thompson History" , wondered why Linda Thompson 's career ended:
So the question is, did Linda Thompson ever possess the will to make it big, or was some inherent lack of ambition responsible for her failure to make her career survive the end of the partnership? "Fundamentally, I think she was not ambitious." Joe boyd says, "I think her orientation has always been towards her life, her family, her relationships. When she was with Richard, she was his singer and she did a great job. But there wasn't the burning need." It's a claim supported by Linda's own assessment of her works with Richard: "A lot of the stuff that we did was good because I was an amateur in the true sense of the word. I just enjoyed it."
And yet it may have been more complicated than that. Boyd hints at a darker side of ambition when he talks of how. during the time they were going out together, there was a pattern to their break-ups: "the instant she detected any hesitation or pulling back on my part, she'd be out the door. she couldn't endure anything less than real enthusiasm, The same thing might be true of her career. Maybe she was ambitious, after all. and as long as the goal was in sight, she'd keep moving. Yet the minute she felt insecure or weak, she walked away. How deeply did she really want it? I don't know."
So, Linda Pettifer, Linda peters, now Linda Kenis, any regrets about the fate of Linda Thompson? "That's such a waste of energy. You can't change anything. If you could, I'd have loads of regrets. I keep thinking that maybe there'll be a folk-rock revival, and Hugh Grant's next film will have Dimming of The Day on the soundtrack..."
This was written in 1996. I don't know what happened since that time because I don't read the magazine. And it seems to me that it is NOT important to know. The important thing is she is back!
HOME | SAQ | LINKS | MAIL