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Mirror Blue Import

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Much of this album was recorded live in the studio, producer/keyboardist Mitchell Froom's trademark processed sounds might make you think otherwise, as he tarts up Thompson's folk-rock arrangements with some exotic electronic flavoring. 13 tracks. EMI. 2004.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 8, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Capitol Records
  • ASIN: B000002URF
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,588 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Catherine S. Vodrey on March 19, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Richard Thompson caught some flack for the unorthodox production and instrumentation of this album, but I for the life of me can't figure out what anyone can find to complain about here. Perhaps it's just that most folks who love Thompson find him to be such a genius that anything not 100% to their liking strikes them as not being up to snuff on HIS part. Too bad for them. Rejecting the new and interesting things Thompson tries on this stellar album is a classic case of faulting the talent for stretching his wings.
"For the Sake of Mary" kicks things off with a more-bitter-than-sweet indictment of Catholocism--Thompson mines a rich vein of his Irish Catholic upbringing here and comes up with great stuff. "I can't Wake Up to Save My Life" has little hints of U2-like shimmering, almost metallic guitar work and a propulsive chorus that makes hilarious work of a bad dream about love gone wrong.
The faintly Indian flavor of "MGB-GT" may or may not be on purpose, but whatever--it works as an unabashed love song to a car. "Easy There, Steady Now" has some of the creepiest lyrics I've ever seen--it's just elliptical and abstract enough that you can't really be sure, but it has the crimson whiff of a murder about it. The arrangement of the varied instruments (some of which sound like things I've never heard before) beautifully follows the back-and-forth zig-zagging of the story Thompson is trying to tell here--it reminds me, curiously enough, of Handel's clever winding music for the "All We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray" section of "Messiah"--the music wanders around just like a flock of sheep might, and Thompson accomplishes the same type of musical illustration here. He goes for the same effect in the dreamlike "I Ride in Your Slipstream," which bobs along to a hypnotic trainlike beat.
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Format: Audio CD
Richard Thompson had been writing and performing---in bands, as a husband-and-wife team with Linda, and as a solo artist---for over 25 years by the time of this 1994 disc. The long shadow cast by the high-quality standards of his previous work is the main reason that anyone finds much fault with this excellent mid-90's release---for any other singer/songwriter/guitarist in his mid-40's (as Thompson was at the time of this release), this disc would qualify as the pinnacle of artistic achievement. Even by Thompson standards, it features many more stellar songs and highlights than filler.
Thompson (and producer Mitchell Froom) decided that for this disc no reverb should be used and that a standard drum kit for percussion was also to be avoided. The result is a 'dry' sound and, on the faster songs, the presence of lots of various thumps, bangs and bumps as who-knows-what-all is struck by drummer Pete Thomas in lieu of the familiar. If you're open to something different, these sounds will interest you, but it can seem distracting at times and probably results in some of the production complaints levied at this disc.
As a songwriter, Richard Thompson can pretty much leave any of his competition in the dust, and there are several instant classics in this very strong line-up of songs. "The Way That It Shows" mines his familiar vein of straying lovers while providing a string-bending guitar workout on the fade. "Mascara Tears" is a bile-filled putdown song with more soaring guitar work. "Beeswing", with simple accoutic guitar accompanyment, continues Thompson's knack of combining traditional English folk song structure with a more contemporary tale of a love who can't be tied down.
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Format: Audio CD
Richard Thompson's voluminous output for Capitol (from roughly 1988-1999) deserves a rebirth. Most of it suffers from an unjustified out of print status (were sales that bad?). "Mirror Blue" from 1994 was by no means the best from this bag, but it contains many notable songs.

Why does this album have such a retched reputation? It really only pales in comparison to its predecessor "Rumor and Sigh" (one of Thompson's best Capitol albums). Maybe the general public wanted another "I Feel So Good" and didn't get it? Thompson rarely if ever repeats himself and this album didn't carbon copy "Rumor and Sigh" whatsoever. Whatever the reason this album doesn't deserve to be spat at. "I Can't Wake Up To Save My Life" almost pays for admission alone, but add to that at least two more incredible songs, the medieval madrigal "King of Bohemia" and folksy "Beeswing", and something undeniably great emerges. Of course these songs appear on Capitol's compacted compliation "Action Packed". But that collection leaves out other greats such as Thompson's ode to his "MGB-GT"; the heavy and unforgettable "The Way That it Shows"; the rousing tale of fame and immortality "Shane and Dixie"; and the laid back defiance of "Taking My Business Elsewhere". All great stuff and all out of print at the time of this typing.

Thompson survived his Capitol woes and still tours and releases great albums. An all-acoustic album is apparently planned for late 2004 early 2005, and right now he's on a scaled down "1000 Years of Popular Music" tour. Everyone should see this show (I saw the October 13th show in St. Paul). Thompson continues to age gracefully, and "Mirror Blue" represents one step along the way. An underrated and underappreciated step, but a good one nonetheless.
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