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RT: The Life and Music of Richard Thompson Box set

28 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, February 7, 2006
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RT: The Life and Music of Richard Thompson + Walking On A Wire: 1969-2009 [4 CD] + Acoustic Classics
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A 5 CD celebration featuring classic, rare and previously unreleased recordings from Richard Thompson's entire career. Free Read. 2006.

For Richard Thompson fanatics (and those who admire the brilliant songwriter and virtuoso guitarist tend to be quite ardent about him), this five-disc set of obscurities, outtakes, live performances, and previously unreleased material is the holy grail. Earlier releases from Free Reed found the label mining the riches of British folk-rock from the likes of Fairport Convention (which featured Thompson in its most popular incarnation), but here they've hit the mother lode. This isn't the place for a newcomer to start with Thompson, as other "best-of" anthologies and career-spanning compilations might provide a better introduction. Instead, this is a treasure trove that will offer discovery for even the most devoted fan. Each disc has a theme--epic ballads, discarded songs, the essential canon--with the disc of cover versions particularly fascinating. From performance tapes, Thompson makes everything from the Who's "Substitute" and Squeeze's "Tempted" to the traditional "Danny Boy" and "Shenandoah" sound like his own. The expansive selection illuminates Thompson as an artist of great range and subtlety, humor and heart, from the intimacy of his solo acoustic performances to galvanizing, electrically charged renditions of masterpieces such as "Shoot Out the Lights," "For Shame of Doing Wrong," and "Calvary Cross." An accompanying 168-page book provides biographical context and exhaustive annotation (though somehows seem to tag "Shoot Out the Lights" as solo acoustic when it's plainly full-band electric). --Don McLeese

Disc: 1
1. Now That I Am Dead
2. Genesis Hall
3. Josef Locke
4. Willy O'Winsbury
See all 20 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. I Feel so Good
2. Push and Shove
3. Time to Ring Some Changes
4. Cooksferry Queen
See all 17 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Valerie
2. Don't Let a Thief Steal into your Heart
3. TGhosts in the Wind
4. Crash the Party
See all 11 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. Substitute
2. Tempted
3. (The Story of) Hamlet
4. Oops, I did it Again
See all 22 tracks on this disc
Disc: 5
1. Albion Sunrise
2. How Many Times do you have to Fall
3. Bad News is all the Wind Can Carry
4. Mrs Rita
See all 15 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 7, 2006)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2006
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Free Reed Us Release
  • ASIN: B000E1XOAI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,634 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
He's not dead yet so all the better to celebrate the music of Richard Thompson. Fan- The word derives from fanatic. It perfectly describes the Richard Thompson fan (myself included) who would purchase this sprawling look back at the man and his music to the present. First don't let some of the other reviews scare you off. Yes the sound quality varies and yes some sound as good as good MP3s while others sound exceptional. That's because a lot of the material here was pulled from Thompson's own collection of older, rare recordings. The notes in the 160 page book point out that everything was done possible to improve sound on all the tracks and nothing is less than acceptable.

Free Reed's excellent anthlogy "The Life and Music of Richard Thompson" isn't the best place to become aquainted with Thompson's vast body of work but it is essential for fans of the man. While sound quality varies (remember many of these performances were never meant to be heard by the public and it includes many demos, live tracks recorded for the artist to keep and/or fan recordings, etc.)but on the whole Free Reed has done a splendid job of assembling rarities for Thompson fans.

We have five discs here. "Muswell Hill to LA" consisting of performances from 1972 with Richard's former wife Linda to 2005 with live recordings, demos, etc. opening ironically with "Now That I Am Dead" which originally appeared on the French, Frirth, Kaiser and Thompson CD "Invisible Means" opens the set with a nice dose of dark humor. Here Richard sings it (John French sings it on the original CD release). "Killerman Gold Posse" originally recorded for the F,F,K & T CD "Live, Larf and Loaf" appears in its original demo form here. The CD closes with the marvelous "Outside of the Inside" in a studio demo recording.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By B. Niedt on June 8, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This box set has a distinctive "bootleg" feel to it, from the somewhat rough cover art and design to the sound quality of the performances, which range from very good to barely acceptable. In spite of that, it's a smorgasbord of rare and unreleased material from Richard Thompson, and the performances across every one of the five discs are uniformly excellent. The set covers virtually his whole solo career (post-Fairport Convention) and even contains a couple of new recording from RT, who had creative control over the whole project. There are a lot of familiar RT tunes here, though none of the final "released" studio versions, and there is no duplication of the tracks from the excellent Hannibal set from the early 1990's, "Watching the Dark." Rather than a chronological overview, the set presents his work with themed discs, including one of "essential" original songs as voted by fans, one of cover songs, and a bonus disc of "very rare" tracks. The focus is on his acoustic side more than the electric (though there is a mostly electric disc of extended "jams"), and at least two-thirds of the material is from live performances, but that's okay as RT is such an amazing live performer. Of particular interest to me are the live tracks from Richard and Linda Thompson, and the humorous songs such as "Alexander Graham Bell", "My Daddy is a Mummy", "Dear Janet Jackson" and his cover of Brittany Spears' "Oops, I Did It Again", as well as his spoof of the traditional "Maire's Wedding" which he calls "Madonna's Wedding". (RT writes some of the darkest lyrics in music, but also has a very wry sense of humor.) The hefty accompanying book by Nigel Schofield is almost big enough for coffee-table status, and contains just about every bit of RT ephemera one could hope for. The price tag is hefty, too, probably due to the set's import status, but it's a treasure trove of rare RT performances, and a must for the avid fan, if not the causal one.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jo D. on February 22, 2006
Format: Audio CD
While this isn't necessarily the place to start if you're entirely new to Thompson's music [either Action Packed or Mock Tudor is a more accessible FIRST cd], this is the collection to go for if you like Thompson but still aren't quite sure what all the fuss is about. Certainly, at least one of these five cd's [six, if you get the Free Reed bonus -- a hoot!] is the one that every RT fan has always been waiting for, the cd that is sure to convert everyone who hears it -- that would be the 3rd cd, "shine in the dark," the cd that features RT's fantastic live improvisations, both acoustic and electric, on some of his best guitar songs. This cd on its own is worth buying the entire set for, even if the other cd's weren't so good in their own right. The 2nd cd, of 'essential' RT songs [as voted by his fervent fan base], is also one of the best cd's currently available for showing off RT's range as a live performer, singer, and songwriter. While it's true that the 'rarities' and 'covers' cds might be most appreciated by the RT fan who mistakenly thought s/he had everything, both feature winning tracks that newcomers will find just as appealing as some of his more famous songs.

Because RT and the compilers of this collection worked so hard to put together a collection that has such appeal for everyone from newcomers to fans who have everything [and then some], I can't agree at all with the reviewers who have been quibbling with the sound quality. The quality is excellent for each song per se, even if going from live track to live track means there's some inevitable discrepancy in sound between two consecutive tracks [louder to softer, crisp to resonant, etc].
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RT: The Life and Music of Richard Thompson
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