I fell in love with I Want to see the Bright Lights Tonight years ago and then, for some reason – too much music in the world – I never found my way to other albums. in the last few I finally have and I find myself unsuccessfully chasing the folk rock dragon. Sometimes you listen to a record at the right time and by the time you get around to the rest of the oeuvre something has changed.
I like Richard Thompson as a songwriter but, so far, I find my favourite songs of his are all on his first duo album with his wife or the Fairport Convention albums he contributed to. Some of this is just exposure for sure. But I’m starting to think some of it was just that I discovered those records at the right time. I wonder if I had just consumed a lot of his output at the time I first discovered him, if I would feel differently about albums like this. The songs are good but they are not reaching me like they have in the past. (Is it this set? Is it me?)
Of course, the main draw for me is the aesthetic – I am a sucker for British folk rock for whatever reason. Something about the clash of old and (relatively) new for sure, but also their complete lack of interest in following trends in record production. The Thompsons wants to sing their songs the way they want to play them and they are going to record them how they think they should be recorded. Can you imagine if the Mellow Mafia tried to play these songs? They wouldn’t, but if they did, well the results would be pretty unsatisfactory.
So I find myself enjoying this enough, but not falling in love with it. I keep searching for that next Richard Thompson record where I’m going to feel what I felt with Bright Lights and I have yet to find it. I am starting to suspect I never will because I found that record at the right time in my life.