The highlight of this eight-CD box set is 31 previously unreleased tracks
Box sets often exist merely to evacuate the wallets of the faithful. Here, though, over eight CDs (or a big download) is the story of one of the most intriguing partnerships in British music: the silvery folk-rock duo Richard and Linda Thompson. It is a tale worth retelling – and shelling out for.
As vocalists, the Thompsons shared a startling contralto directness that, squared, offered up a vision of often spare, unfussy beauty at one remove from convention or theatricality. This chronology kicks off with the pair’s first casual rock’n’roll experiments for a low-key ensemble project. It ends with the duo’s live immolation, when the Thompsons fulfilled lucrative 1982 tour dates despite their relationship having, as one of their most famous songs goes, “withered and died”.
A little like Fleetwood Mac – a more lucrative British late-60s outcropping – these former soulmates sang songs about their curdled love at one another across blasted North American stages. But Stevie Nicks never gave birth in a Sufi squat without hot water or electricity, or stole a car in Canada on a bender; she may never have kicked Lindsay Buckingham’s shins while he soloed – unlike Linda Pettifer, who, pre-Richard, performed as Linda Peters.
“After I hit Richard on the head with the Coca-Cola bottle it was fine,” Linda Thompson reminisced about that final tour to Rolling Stone in 1985. “I suddenly went from being this lady with three children – covered in scarves, with my eyes turned to the ground – to stealing cars and living on vodka and antidepressants. And I felt fabulous! Hitting everybody. You know, people’d say good morning to me and I’d say, ‘Fuck off.’ It was great therapy.”
The ballad of Richard and Linda has been rehearsed a great many times before of course, and the Thompsons’ work has been amply bootlegged and box-setted previously. But there are many great verses here not previously aired.
Key to the excitement of this collection is its 31 unreleased tracks – such as Amazon Queen, an early Richard Thompson psych-pop outtake, or the demo of Dimming of the Day, unadorned and devastating, on a CD devoted to the duo’s 1975 album Pour Down Like Silver and its outtakes.
Folk rock legends Fairport Convention have released a new ensemble version of their 1969 classic Meet On The Ledge as a charity single. Proceeds from downloads will be donated to Help Musicians UK, formerly the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund.
“Help Musicians UK has been doing its best to support people through the Covid-19 crisis so it is the logical choice of beneficiary,” says Fairport singer Simon Nichol. “Those on the single are professional musicians themselves so this is something by musicians for musicians.”
You can watch the ensemble video in full below, which reunites the song’s writer Richard Thompson with his old Fairport band mates as well as drummer Dave Mattacks who drummed on the Liege And Leaf album which featured Meet On The Ledge.
Also featured are Rosalie Cunningham, Clannad singer Moya Brennan and a host of singer songwriters from the folk world including Ralph McTell, Chris and Kellie While, Martin Joseph, Emily Barker, Maddie Morris, Rob Allum of Turin Brakes and more.
The festival’s finale would’ve seen most of the line-up joining Fairport on stage to sing Meet On The Ledge at Fairport’s annual three-day festival at Cropredy in Oxfordshire in August 2020. The idea of creating a virtual replacement for this ensemble performance came from BBC Radio Oxford producer Will Banks who invited the musicians to film themselves performing to a guitar guide track. The resulting videos were stitched together to form a high-quality audio and video stream which was first broadcast on Radio Oxford on Saturday 15 August.
Folk singer, who also had a solo career, had a long-term illness
The Fairport Convention singer Judy Dyble has died aged 71. The folk artist, who also had a solo career, had been suffering from a long-term illness.
Dyble rose to prominence during the 1960s and performed on Fairport Convention songs including Time Will Show the Wiser.
A statement from her agent said: “It is with great sadness that we announce that English singer-songwriter Judy Dyble passed away on 12 July following a long illness borne with great courage. Judy Dyble was one of the pioneers of the English folk rock scene in the 1960s, most notably as a founding member of Fairport Convention and vocalist with cult band Trader Horne.
“We wish to express our deepest sympathies to Judy’s family, friends and many associates from her musical career at this time.” Continue reading →