Pour Down Like Silver (Bonus Tracks)
Richard & Linda Thompson
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Pour Down Like Silver was the last album Richard & Linda Thompson would release before beginning a self-imposed three-year retirement in order to join a communal Sufi Muslim sect. The cover photographs show the Thompsons dressed in traditional Muslim garb, and while lyrically the album offers few clear signs of the Thompsons' new spiritual direction, the stark asceticism of the music marked a real change from the alcohol-fueled mood swings of I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight and Hokey Pokey. The horns, accordion, and ancient instruments that had dotted Richard and Linda's previous albums were used far more sparingly on Pour Down Like Silver, and even Thompson's usually astounding electric guitar solos were pared down in favor of an emotionally intimate, bare-wired approach that sounds alternately like a confession and a plea for guidance. Pour Down Like Silver is downbeat even by Richard Thompson's less than joyful standards, but it also features some of his most beautiful and compelling songs — the ravaged plea for salvation of "Streets of Paradise," the mysterious and mesmerizing "Night Comes In," the mournful romantic meditations "Beat the Retreat" and "For Shame of Doing Wrong," and the spare but heartfelt love song "Dimming of the Day." And Linda (usually the more pragmatic of the two) breaks the mood near the end of side two with the cynically witty "Hard Luck Stories." Pour Down Like Silver is the most severe of the Richard & Linda Thompson albums, but those brave enough to look past its dark surface will find a startlingly beautiful album; it's not an easy album to listen to, but it greatly rewards the effort.
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