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Lakewood Theater - Dallas, TX
3/5/2007 (updated 3/8/2007)

Richard Thompson
Lakewood Theater
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 renown lineups.

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 better.

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.

Bucks Burnett
March 4, 2007