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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime
In our age of hyped-up folkrock artists like Ryan Adams and Bright Eyes, it is a real eye-opener to listen to this album. The music lingers in the borderland between traditional english and american music, giving it a really original flavour.

The opener, the transcendent "When I get to the border" is probably the best "new"(to me) song I`ve heard so far this...
Published on February 21, 2005 by Trismegistos

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Warning AIFF-C Files - Might not play on your equipment
Caution - The song files on this CD are not uncompressed AIFF or PCM. They are AIFF-C (Compressed) files that are lower quality and are not even recognized to play on many players. This disc was unrecognized on my MAC Pro, MAC Book Pro, Pioneer Elite Blu-Ray player nor my car stereo. Only my Pioneer SACD player was even able to play this disc. (My computer did recognize...
Published 4 months ago by Christine Stokes


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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime, February 21, 2005
By 
This review is from: I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (Audio CD)
In our age of hyped-up folkrock artists like Ryan Adams and Bright Eyes, it is a real eye-opener to listen to this album. The music lingers in the borderland between traditional english and american music, giving it a really original flavour.

The opener, the transcendent "When I get to the border" is probably the best "new"(to me) song I`ve heard so far this year, totally unpretentious and original and free. Like Bob Dylan, Richard Thompson attempts & fails to conceal an amazing personality and individuality which seeps through every breath of his vocal work. The same goes for the rest of the album.

Linda`s vocals are a little less original, but more than adequate compared to other singers, and anyway, the imperfections of this album adds up to become perfection as a whole.The title song, for example: A rambunctious, messy, drunken, glorious thing, complete with a marching band and a primitive bassline, totally irresistible. If you`ve heard "The basement tapes", you`ll know what I mean.

Strongly recommended.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best thing I can say about this album..., September 22, 2006
By 
This review is from: I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (Audio CD)
Even though it's been in my record collection for many years, I recently listened to it OBSESSIVELY for about a month, every single day. How many albums can provoke that sort of obsession? Every single song is a thriller, a masterpiece. Some songs (particularly Calvary Cross) grew even richer with live-performance development over the years, but that just shows what marvels they were from the start! Other songs, like "The Great Valerio" and "Poor Beggar Girl", appear so richly performed that there's simply no room left for improvement.

Additionally, the balance of Richard's twanging electric guitar, earthy acoustics and mandolins, Linda's dry unaffected alto, and clean, simple production really add weight. The whole thing feels quite natural and timeless.

Timeless. Yeah, that's the best thing I can say. Well, that, and it provokes strange obsessions.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BOY, DID I GOOF..., February 9, 2003
Back in 2000 when Island released the Richard & Linda Thompson Best of The Island Years Collection, I was looking to whittle down the number of discs I owned and it seemed to be an ideal opportunity in regards to my Richard & Linda Thompson library: highlights from albums I didn't own were represented, material I was always curious about was there, and, in the case of I Want To See the Bright Lights Tonight, 7 of the 10 cuts were included. I figured, hey, pick this up and I can get rid of IWTSTBLT as well as Pour Down Like Silver.
Yeah, I know: I also feel like I should be made to sit in the corner wearing a "Dunce" cap.
The Best of IS a superbly constructed compilation - heck, the songs that are on it are even in the same sequence as on this release, so what's the problem?
That this is an ALBUM, in the classic sense. It has an intention, as well as a beginning, a middle, and an end. The songs that are missing aren't the albums highlights, true, but that's only because all the other material is just so superb. "We Sing Halelujah" (not on the greatest hits) is a wonderful song, and "Has He Got a Friend For Me?" and "The Little Beggar Girl" are...well, y'know something, some of these songs are the albums highlights...(damn!)
The rest of the material is some of Thompson's - heck, the WORLD'S - darkest: "Down Where the Drunkards Roll", "Withered and Died", "The End of the Rainbow"...the titles say it all. But they're balanced by the drive and ...hope(?) in other songs like "When I Get to The Border", "Calvary Cross", and the title track. For all of their hope and desire, the songs remain wise and world-weary.
Individually, these all remain great songs, but in the context of this album is where they really make sense. Thompson's guitar work remains a unique talent, and Linda's voice is just superb (I have yet to find a solo Richard album this satisfying, because with his penchant for such dark, unflinching material, a voice as beautiful as Linda's provides excellent counterpoint).
Oh...and a word of warning: I picked this up after I'd gotten Shoot Out the Lights and wanted more of the same: this album is much more folky from songstyle to instrumentation and arrangemtents. It took a while for this album to sink in, but, boy did it ever...
Selling this album (and Pour Down Like Silver)...wow, I can be a real [dunce] sometimes...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First in a series of classic albums by Richard & Linda, February 16, 2006
This review is from: I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (Audio CD)
Thompson's first album with wife Linda listed as a full partner, "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight" remains one of his best albums. From the stunning opening track "When I Get to the Border" it was clear that Thompson found a perfect partner to harmonize with. Linda's clear, crisp voice accented Richard's gruffer one. Linda sings "Has He Got a Friend for Me" with just the right mournful tone and perfectly captures the mood of the song. The remastering on this edition is quite good. We get lyrics and a brief essay on their musical partnership during this time.

The bonus tracks are all terrific but they do spoil the mood of the album. The first one is the title track played live and it begins right after "The Great Valerio". I'm not sure who sequenced these tracks for remastering but they should have had at least 30 seconds between the last track and the beginning of the bonus material. "Together Again" also recorded live is a terrific performance but the keeper here is "The Calvary Cross" with a blistering performance by Thompson on guitar. All three tracks are previously unreleased.

If you purchased this album previously on CD (or vinyl) it's worth the upgrade for the bonus tracks.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking, somber, dark, powerful, November 24, 2001
I feel that this is the best single album of one of the finest overall songwriters of the modern era. Where to begin? At the end...the final two songs, "End of the Rainbow" and "The Great Valerio" are a beautiful, dark, ending to this album, possibly the most perfect ending to any album. The music is stripped of frills, reflecting despair without entering into self-pity. There is a feeling of being alone and without purpose, with no hope for this to change; this is our condition, not some malleable situation. How perfect is this: "Life seems so rosy in the cradle/But take a look outside your nursery door/There's nothing at the end of the rainbow/There's nothing to grow up for anymore" It is the realization of the tragedy that our lives must be if there is nothing beyond it. It is the conviction of a man who cannot see beyond the horrors of his own life.
There are MANY other great songs on this disk: "Calvary Cross", "Down Where the Drunkards Roll" and the title track all spring to mind. There is not a dud in the collection. Richard shows himself a superlative songwriter and an excellent guitarist, and Linda's haunting vocals are beautifully suited to his work (although Richard's vocals on "End of the Rainbow" are also perfect). I have never heard a 'perfect' album, but this album has certain strengths that make it something sui generis.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't Get This Album Out of My Head, July 6, 2009
By 
John Ratliff (Santa Clara, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
A few days ago I put this CD on, almost at random. By the time it was half through, I had stopped what I was doing and just listened in awe. Since then, I've probably played it a dozen times, some songs (Has He Got a Friend, End of the Rainbow, Great Valerio) many more times than that. The debut album of Richard and Linda Thompson, in some ways, was never surpassed. "Shoot Out the Lights" is also incredible, but I guess as I get older, the purity of the vision on the fundamental tragedy of life that is manifest in "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight" becomes more compelling. And Richard's guitar and Linda's voice are both so perfect. I want a give a special pitch for The Great Valerio. It's a perfect synthesis of poetry and music, profoundly thought provoking. Listening to this album makes me feel less lonely, like there's someone who understands.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Not All Bright Lights Out There !, July 17, 2002
A marvelous album from 1974 chocked full of Richard Thompson's wry observations on life's outsiders . The ten songs are amongst Richard Thompson's best work , and they're enhanced further by the imaginative choice of instruments that are played . The use of the Dulcimer , Anglo Concertina , Krummhorn and Accordion gives this cd a dark quasi-English medieval ambiance that fits hand in glove with the almost Gothic imagery and dark language of the songs . As usual Richard Thompson's guitar playing is inspired , and the underrated Linda Thompson has one of her finest moments on the magnificent " Withered and Died " , surely one of the great songs on " lost love " out there !
I've had this record for twenty years now , and it still keeps getting better , because from time to time I still discover hidden nuances that not only enhances the record but also highlights the depth of this stunning music . Essential !
...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bright Lights sounds as wonderful as ever...on new vinyl reissue, May 31, 2012
This new vinyl reissue of Richard and Linda Thompson's most celebrated LP certainly lives up to the hype. Wax Cathedral, a new Universal Music Group imprint, has definitely done the album proud. Sonically sound, distinct and punchy, this pressing stands up against the original Island pressing and in some ways surpasses it. Dead quiet surfaces allow the rich textured recording to shine through. Deep resonant bass and clear distinct highs present a fully realized soundstage that is seldom heard on albums recorded after the early to mid seventies. I must admit my heart sank a bit when i saw this was released through Universal, a company with no great record when it comes to quality product. But in this case, I can attest to the high quality of this reissue.Compared with my first pressing, this new copy will take pride of place on the turntable.
For Thompson fans this purchase should be a no-brainer. Younger and newer listeners are in for a delight as this seminal folk rock LP unfolds on a well pressed record. Vinyl enthusiasts can buy with confidence, this record sounds as good as you hope it will. Now if only they would give Henry the Human Fly the same treatment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top 50, of all time, March 29, 2008
By 
This review is from: I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (Audio CD)
How could a man so young be so bitter? And how could it all sound so great, even so life-affirming? Not a misstep on the record, every song here is written and exists; these are not just words set to music, they have the quality of folksongs transmitted orally over generations. Some of the really world weary, misanthropic songs that would pervade 1975's Pour Down Like Silver, but there is a little bit more af a joyous atmosphere working here, despite songs like "The End of the Rainbow": "Life seems so rosy from the cradle/ but I'll be a friend, I'll tell you what's in store/ there's nothing at the end of the rainbow/ there's nothing to grow up for anymore."

A true folksinger, Thompson is so at home in the genre that he is not even working within the genre, but has become it in a way... Linda Thompson has, in my opinon, one of the most affecting, if not strictly beautiful, voices I have ever heard. Listen to her on "Has He Got a Friend" where she begs for a date: "If you know someone who's graceful and wise/ doesn't mind girls who are clumsy and shy/ I don't mind going with someone who I've never seen." Or on "Down Where the Drunkards Roll": "You could be a gambler who never drew a hand/ you could be Lord Jesus, all the world would understand/ down where the drunkards roll." Her voice floors me, leaves me shaken with goosebumps.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong, consistent music, March 6, 2007
By 
C. Lindsay (Jeonju, South Korea) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (Audio CD)
Even for an album released in 1974, on the surface "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight" seems deeply unhip. In the year when glam rock was at its peak and punk godmother Patti Smith released her first angry single, Richard and Linda Thompspon put out this album of English folk music. Some of the songs, such as "Down Where the Drunkards Roll" or "Little Beggar Girl" are so deeply rooted in the Anglo-Celtic folk tradition that it would easy to imagine they date from the eighteenth century. And yet this is part of the strength of this remarkable album. Largely unswayed by the fashions of the moment, the Thompsons produced an album of beautifully crafted and performed folk and folk-rock songs which have stood the test of time.
This is not the kind of album that has one knock-out punch. Yes, "The Calvary Cross" and "End of the Rainbow" are especially strong tracks but really this album's greatest strength is its consistency. There is not a single weak track here. Another strength is its variety of approaches and styles. "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight" is a comparitively upbeat track. It is almost a rocker compared to some of the folkier arrangements. But then there are moody, haunting ballads like "The Great Valerio", which showcase Linda's exceptional voice. And some of the tracks showcase Richard's virtuosity on the electric guitar but, unlike so many mainstream seventies rock acts, never to excess.
This album will appeal to anyone who likes intelligently written and heartfelt music. It will no doubt still be around when a lot more faddish albums have dropped by the wayside.
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I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight by Linda Thompson (Audio CD - 2004)
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