Lakewood Theater - Dallas, TX
3/5/2007 (updated 3/8/2007)
Sunday, March 4, 2007
Approximately 800 eclectic music lovers were treated to a very intimate SRO
(Sitting Room Only) solo acoustic performance by the truly legendary British
folk/rock guitarist and songwriter Richard Thompson; while many Lakewood
residents might be asking, "Richard who?", those in attendance were in the
presence of not a household name, but one who has become more a dear and
treasured friend than hotshot entertainer.
Briefly, here is 'who' Richard is; he was the founding member and leader
in 1967 of perhaps the first English folk/rock band, Fairport Convention.
With female vocalist Sandy Denny, Fairport released several albums in the
late 1960's/early 70's which are considered today as true landmarks in the
evolution of British rock. By the mid-70's, both Thompson and Denny had
moved on to their respective solo careers, while Fairport Convention this
summer will celebrate their 40th anniversary as an active band of many
Perhaps less known but equally important is Mr. Thompson's contributions
as guitarist to the beloved albums recorded in the early 70's by the
deceased folk cult figure Nick Drake. Mr. Drake died after his third album
was released under mysterious circumstance and would remain largely unknown
by most had Volkswagen not featured one of his songs in a TV commercial a
few years ago. Mr. Thompson's contributions were critical to the simple but
lush chemistry of Nick Drake's extremely personal atmosphere.
After leaving Fairport, Richard and wife Linda Thompson released a
string of highly acclaimed albums before divorcing in the early 80's. Since
then approximately 20 solo albums have created a legacy nothing less than
staggering. Mr. Thompson is considered by most rock critics to be one of the
most talented and underrated guitarists/writers/performers in pop music
history, and for good reason; the man is simply untouchable in his field. As
a guitarist, only names such as Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, or perhaps Leo
Kottke are mentioned in comparison.
As solo acoustic performer, Richard commanded rapt attention and even
stunned silence throughout his 90 minute set, which featured not only
treasured favorites from his storied career, but a folk song or two from the
1500's as well. Please note this is not a typographical error in reference
to the 1950's; he actually performs little known compositions from the past
1,000 years of music history with regularity.
As for song titles and critical assessment, this writer would prefer the
equally impossible task of describing 25 consecutive crashes of the mighty
Atlantic Ocean against the imposing cliffs of Land's End along the southern
coast of England. How does one decide which wave is more or less
significant, or beautiful? Imagine such a picture; 90 minutes of beauty
which defy easy assessment. Such is the evocative power of Richard Thompson
in live performance. If by now you are curious, seek out his recordings
through local outlets CD World or Good Records, (or Amazon.com) and alter
your life for the
Eric Clapton recently performed at a sold out American Airlines Arena.
In a much fairer world, the equally talented Thompson would headline the
same venue. This writer has more than once used the expression, "Richard
Thompson is what Eric Clapton imagines himself to be doing." The seemingly
harsh statement actually compliments both parties.
He remains largely overlooked by the music business and masses in
general. Fortunately for Dallas, local promoter and Lakewood Theater owner
Mark Lee has typically presented another historic and enjoyable evening of
live performance. Mr. Lee also once booked another obscure British act into
a small Dallas venue who have stood the test of time; The Police, on their
legendary 'van tour' of 1977. Get thee to thy local music shop.
March 4, 2007