Linda Thompson leads a salute to Britain’s music halls of days gone by

By Bruce Sylvester

In the 1970s and early ’80s, dusky-voiced Linda Thompson with her singer/writer/guitarist husband Richard won cult status for their dark discs echoing trad folk amid the rock.

She was born Linda Pettifer in London on August 23, 1947. When she was six, her parents moved the family back to their native Scotland. After growing up in Glasgow, she returned to London for university. Gravitating to its folk clubs, she sang as Linda Peters. She and Richard (whom she wed in 1972) had three children: Muna, singer/writer/producer Teddy, and Kami, who sings with her husband James Walbourne in the Rails.

Shoot Out the Lights (1982) marked the fiery end of her and Richard’s marriage and musical collaborations. The breakup fed into pain-drenched songs each subsequently wrote. In 1984, she sang in National Theatre’s production of medieval mystery plays. Her solo debut album, 1985’s One Clear Moment, included “Telling Me Lies” (her co-write with Betsy Cook), which garnered a 1987 Grammy nomination for Best Country Song after Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris covered it on Trio.

Then dysphonia (a condition impacting her voice and ability to sing) kept her from putting out albums until drolly titled Fashionably Late in 2002. Her most recent solo, Won’t Be Long Now, came out on Pettifer Sounds in 2013.

Flashback to 2005, when she organized My Mother Doesn’t Know I’m on the Stage, a salute to Britain’s music hall entertainment of the 19th and 20th centuries offering plenty of laughter with tears too. On stage at the Lyric Hammersmith in London, its performers included son Teddy, son-in-law Walbourne, and family friends such as Martha Wainwright, actor Colin Firth, and, from the trans community, Justin Vivian Bond. Now, fashionably late, a CD of the show has been released on Omnivore Records.

Here Linda Thompson talks with Goldmine via email about music halls and more.

Goldmine: Is the CD’s humor especially British (say, the title track and “I Might Learn to Love Him Later On”)?

Linda Thompson: Let’s take “I Might Learn to Love Him Later On” about a young women marrying a rich older man. Is that British? Ask Melania. Continue reading


Joe Strummer’s widow tells how she found The Clash singer’s lost tapes in their Somerset barn

His work inspired devotion around the world – prompting more than one fan to tell him he had changed their lives – but for a long time after his untimely death Lucinda Tait could not bear to hear her husband’s Joe Strummer’s voice. Her grief was simply too raw and his singing only served as a cruel reminder of what she had lost.

“When Joe died I was so immersed in grief and trying to find a way to move on that I couldn’t listen to his voice. It was just too much to hear him”

So it was only in recent years that Tait could bring herself to listen to the previously unreleased recordings by the former lead singer of  The Clash which she had discovered in their Somerset barn, shortly after he died of an undiagnosed heart defect in December 2002, at the age of 50,Now 32 songs from that stash of long lost Strummer tapes have been released as part of a new collection of work by a man who inspired [ . . . ]

Continue at THE TELEGRAPH: Joe Strummer’s widow tells how she found The Clash singer’s lost tapes in their Somerset barn

Joe Strummer’s Legacy Lives On in This Commemorative Album 

Joe Strummer will always be known first as the fire-breathing frontman of the British punk quartet The Clash, but he also led a richly productive creative life apart from that great band. Collecting nearly three dozen tracks from before and mostly after the group, “Joe Strummer 001” offers highlights of his solo efforts, including film and TV work (such as “South Park”), collaborations (with Johnny Cash and Jimmy Cliff), and a generous helping of obscurities and previously unreleased recordings. The range is dazzling, from foot-stomping rock and roll to Latin-shaded dance grooves to reggae (a Clash staple) to folksy acoustic ballads—and much more. For all the stylistic variety, his familiar sandpaper voice, capable of gruff urgency and tender reflection in the same breath, is consistently electrifying. Joe Strummer died in 2002, but his mighty legacy remains. [ . . . ]

Continue at MOTHER JONES: Joe Strummer’s Legacy Lives On in This Commemorative Album – Mother Jones