Film by Paul Dunphy for Folk On Foot
The legendary guitarist and songwriter Richard Thompson (who celebrated his 70th birthday in 2019) takes Matthew Bannister for a walk around the areas of London where he grew up, began playing the guitar, formed Fairport Convention (inventing English folk rock) and joined the vibrant music scene of the 1960s.
On the steps of his old school in Highgate Richard sings “Man With Money” by the Everly Brothers which he used to perform with the band he formed at the school. In Highgate Woods he sings his classic lament for lost love and the travelling life: “Beeswing” as well as a new song written during lockdown: “If I Could Live My Life Again”.
Outside the house called “Fairport” that gave the band its name, Richard gives us an emotional version of “Meet On The Ledge”. Then it’s on to Wardour Street in Soho, site of the famous Marquee Club, for “Walking The Long Miles Home” as he recalls walking ten miles back to his parents’ home in the early hours of the morning after gigs.
Finally we are in the Lamb and Flag pub in Covent Garden where Richard describes an encounter with a drunken Irish tenor that inspired his song “Josef Locke”. Along the way Richard reflects on song writing technique, remembers playing with Jimi Hendrix, tells how his Mum and Dad never really understood his success as a musician and relates how the seminal album “Liege and Lief” was the band’s way of dealing with “PTSD” after a car crash that killed his girlfriend Jeannie Franklyn and the drummer Martin Lamble.