Listen-Along: Richard & Linda Thompson – “Shoot Out the Lights”

shootoutthelights

1) Don’t Renege on Our Love



Tucker Phillips: The gallop of horses.

Sean Reichard: I was just thinking that. It’s very gallopy.

TP: Richard Thompson: the high plains drifter?

SR: Maybe! He was the original guitarist in Fairport Convention.

TP: This is good to know. I have no background with either Richard or Linda. Renege is a word that should get more use.

SR: Linda was on the scene since the late 60s I think. Dated Nick Drake(?)

TP: Dang.

SR: Richard Thompson played on both Five Leaves Left and Bryter Layter.

TP: Double dang. Well, this seems a little sprightlier.

SR: Just wait; the solo is coming.

TP: I think I’m hitting it now.

SR: Well well. Don’t renege on our love.

TP: I’ll try not to.

SR: Oh man.

TP: The gallop maintains.

SR: This last part is wonderful.

TP: Solo #2?

SR: Yes.

TP: This solo right here. She ain’t too flashy, but she’s getting the job done just the same.

SR: Oh yes. Thompson is quite good at that. And scene.

TP: Well I’m intrigued.

SR: Good! “Don’t Renege on Our Love” is definitely one of my favorites on the album. Compact, fleet, a perfect intro. Anyway.

TP: Clint would be proud.


2) Walking on a Wire



TP: There’s Linda.

SR: Yes.

TP: I was wondering where she’d gotten to. And Richard!

SR: Yep.

TP: The whole gang’s here!

SR: Dat background guitar.

TP: Woah, that guitar is doing some fownky things.

SR: He’s well known for that. Fun fact: Linda was pregnant when they recorded this album. And I believe Richard was already cheating on her.

TP: Great! Good story to tell the kid someday.

SR: Richard also wrote basically every song here. SOLO!

TP: Jeez Linda, carry your weight here. SOLO! These solos are 2 for 2 right now (well, 3 for 3 if you wanna get technical).

SR: There’s an alternate version of this that’s subtly different. Got less plod, is more ruminant.

TP: More bagpipes? Ah, that makes more sense.

SR: YOU WANT BAGPIPES??

TP: There is a bit of plod going on.

SR: I’m not sure there are any here though.

TP: I WAS PROMISED BAGPIPES.

SR: MAYBE THERE ARE SOME ON “BACK STREET SLIDE.” I DON’T KNOW MAN.

TP: SOLD. I really like how this album sounds. Kinda thin but in a way I can appreciate.

SR: Joe Boyd was producer here.

TP: Like the desert wind. Or a college mattress.

SR: Boyd also produced Bryter Layter.

TP: Classic Boyd.

SR: So yeah, that’s one of the more heartbreaking songs. The next one is more or less all Richard.

TP: I felt it!


3) Man in Need



TP: Oh damn. I found where the fownk’s been hiding.

SR: That bass.

TP: Lovin’ those vocal harmonies.

SR: Oh yes. Yes yes yes.

TP: There’s a ton going on in this song.

SR: Thompson is one of those strange beings who can write great songs with great words and somehow manage to put some mindblowing guitar behind it. SOLOS.

TP: SOLOS ON SOLOS.

SR: I can honestly feel this bassline as a great sample.

TP: Even during the non-solo parts, the guitars are doing all kinds of gymnastics.

SR: Oh yeah. I saw him live at the Stoughton Opera House three years ago, when he did an acoustic set. It was crazy. Man rattled off solos that were played by saxophones on his solo albums.

TP: I can’t imagine that guitar was ever the same after that night.

SR: Oh OH OH OH OH OH. Of a man in neeeeeeeeed.

TP: Dootle dootle doooooo.

SR: Quite, quite. Fun fact: Richard Thompson once left the music business to join a Sufi commune.

TP: Well! These things, uh…happen!

SR: I believe he is still Sufi. Which is a neat thing.


4) Just the Motion



TP: I am at peace.

SR: LET THE PEACE COURSE THROUGH YOU.

TP: Namaste.

SR: It’s just the motion.

TP: I’m liking this song a whooooole hell of a lot.

SR: GOOD CAUSE THERE’S STILL 4 AND A HALF MINUTES OF IT.

TP: AWWW YEAH.

SR: This song makes me tear up, to be honest.

TP: Yeah, I expected the longest song to be the prog-rock epic. But I much prefer this.

SR: This and “Dimming of the Day” always get me. The latter is not on this album though.

TP: OK, I was panicking.

SR: No no no, that’s on their second to last album.

TP: So is it like an Abbey Road sitch?

SR: This?

TP: Where they recorded albums after this but they got released before this one?

SR: No no, this is the absolute last.

TP: Ah, gotcha.

SR: They broke up before it was released. Then they had to go on a U.S. tour together. Contractually obligated(?) to do so.

TP: That must’ve been pleasant!

SR: It was a bad time. Anyway, THIS GUITAR.

TP: RIGHT? YOU ONLY GET LIKE 5 DRUM HITS, BUT YOU’RE GONNA LOVE EACH AND EVERY ONE – SotL drummer.

SR: Dave Mattacks. Who was in Fairport Convention I believe!

TP: I have no option but to believe you! Well that was the most calming song I’ve ever heard. MATTACKS ATTACK.

SR: Well, if you liked how calm that song was, just wait until the title track.

TP: HYPED!


5) Shoot Out the Lights



Michael Frett: What kind of wobbly country western did I just stumble in on?

TP: If this isn’t sampled somewhere I’ll bite my toe.

SR: He hides like a chiiiiild.

MF: After he pops out them lights. No seein’ him then.

SR: This is the guitariest of these tracks.

TP: Oh gosh I love all the space in this song.

SR: HOPE YOU LIKE EXTENDED SOLOS.

TP: I LOVE – excuse me – I LOVE EXTENDED SOLOS.

SR: AS HE THUNDERS THROUGH THE NIGHT. SHOOT OUT THE LIGHTS.

TP: BA BA, BA BA. BA BA.

SR: Oh man oh man oh man. BWOOOOOW.

MF: Man, I’m pretty fond of these wobbly guitars.

TP: HERE WE GO. MAKE THAT GUITAR CRY FOR ITS MOMMA.

MF: Hey guys. Did you know. That. I really like country guitar?

SR: Yes?

TP: Nothing makes sense anymore.

MF: And that this is doing wonders for me?

TP: The world I thought I knew? A lie.

SR: Richard Thompson is a god of sorts.

TP: A minor deity at the very least.

SR: Before they revised it, Rolling Stone had him at #19 on their guitarist list. Alright. Alright. Alright.

TP: Is it bad that I’d never really heard of him before this LA?

SR: Here comes the next part! Naw, it’s cool. YOU’RE MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME.

MF: This is the first I’ve heard of him.

TP: Good lord let that guitar breathe a little. SHE AIN’T GONNA MAKE IT THROUGH TO THE END.

SR: Just follow, man.

MF: SINCE WHEN DID COUNTRY ROCKERS DO THAT?

SR: HE’S A FOLK ROCKER EXCUSE ME.

MF: TREMOLO FOR DAYZZZ.

TP: HE’S A GUITARIST. AND A LOVER. AND A MAN.

MF: I feel like, when done in a certain way, country rock and folk rock are pretty interchangeable.

SR: That drum echo.

MF: NOT USUALLY. But in this case.


6) Back Street Slide



SR: This was the one I always used to skip because I didn’t know any better.

TP: Time makes fools of us all.

MF: What’s going on with those backstreets, Mr. Thompson?

TP: It’s fascinating how the first 5 seconds of songs hold so much influence. BUT ANYWAYS.

SR: STAB YOU IN THE BACK WITH A KITCHEN KNIFE.

TP: I love the guitar riff.

MF: HORNS

TP: And all the other stuff. Kind of a dark album, no?

SR: This is by far the most “crowded” song. So dark.

MF: He makes the dark so… casual, though. AT LEAST FROM THESE TWO SONGS.

TP: It’s an everyday darkness.

MF: I KIND OF MISSED THE FIRST HALF.

TP: IT WAS A LITTLE DIFFERENT.

SR: ACCORDION(?)

TP: IT SEEMS LIKE.

SR: Yes it was. The last third of this song is great cause it’s basically all vamp. HERE WE ARE.

TP: Vampin’ so hard right now.

SR: Dat marbley guitar. And those rolling drums.

TP: Speed this up about 3 times and you’ve got a metal riff.


7) Did She Jump or Was She Pushed



TP: The guitars, which once woogled ever so softly, have gone full woogle.

SR: Twisted necks erryday.

MF: If someone told me “Imagine a folk rock song recorded in 1982,” it’d probably sound like this.

TP: Is it the bass? It’s probably the bass.

MF: Nah, man. Them dark chords.

SR: In the background sure. Fun fact: Linda cowrote this song.

MF: That tone.

TP: Man, the Thompson household musta been a fun place.

SR: It was! This must’ve been a fun one to play live.

TP: This makes Rumours look like, uh… I don’t have a good comparison ready.

MF: Man.

SR: THEY DIDN’T FIND NO KILLER AND THEY DIDN’T FIND NO NOTE. Yeah.

MF: I actually wanted to reference Rumours there. YOU BEAT ME TO IT, TUCKER.

TP: I DID IT.

SR: Harrowing.

TP: Harrowing is how I’d describe this song.

MF: I can’t imagine the warmest of performances met those audiences.

SR: Oh man that bass snuck up on me.

TP: They always do.

MF: Why don’t guitar players talk about Richard Thompson?


8) Wall of Death



SR: I STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT THE WALL OF DEATH IS.

TP: Another high-spirited shanty for all you lovebirds out there!

SR: WHETHER IT’S SOME KIND OF COMMONWEALTH CARNIVAL SHENANIGAN. BUT I WAN’T IN.

TP: Oh, ok. Now I see the carnival metaphor.

SR: The tunnel of love might amuse me. AND NOAH’S ARK MIGHT CONFUSE YOU.

TP: I was wondering if Wall of Death was a Minnesotan fair thing or something.

SR: BUT LET ME TAKE MY CHANCES ON THE WALL OF DEATH.

TP: NOAH’S ARK ALWAYS CONFUSES ME.

MF: WHERE DO YOU GET OFF, NOAH’S ARK?

SR: ON THE WALL OF DEATH IT’S THE NEAREST THING TO BEING FREE. Dat spangling guitar.

TP: Are both Thompsons still alive?

SR: Yes. BEWARE OF THE BEARDED LADY. SOLO TIME.

MF: Seems like they survived the wall… OF DEATH!

TP: Whatever happened to guitar solos? They were cool.

MF: That country swagger. I don’t know if I’ve heard too many guitarists with that kind of country swagger.

SR: Richard Thompson still has them.

TP: He’s gone from deity to savior. Not bad, not bad.

MF: If the wall of death actually sounded like this, I’d probably take my chances with it.

SR: OH MAN. LAST RIFFFFF.

MF: THAT CLOSING.

TP: BAH BAH.