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The Best of Richard and Linda Thompson: The Island Record Years

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Editors’ Notes

The three albums that Richard and Linda Thompson made for Island Records in the mid-'70s are at the very core of the folk-rock canon, sporting an abundance of RT's transcendent guitar work and some of the most affecting songs ever to emerge from his powerful pen, plus the crucial component of his wife Linda's goosebump-inducing croon. This collection kicks off with a brace of songs from Richard's 1972 solo debut, Henry the Human Fly; these provide valuable context, bearing a bit more traditional British folk influence carried over from his old band, trailblazing folk-rockers Fairport Convention. The Thompsons cover a broad spectrum of moods, from the excitement of a night on the town in "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight" to the emotional dissolution of "Withered and Died." Though the pair's marriage famously flamed out in the '80s, they created one of the most poignant love songs in the English language on "A Heart Needs a Home." And Richard's six-string fireworks on a live version of the guitar tour de force "Calvary Cross" are a resonant reminder of his unassailable guitar-hero status.

Customer Reviews

Hammy, what is

the "Calvary Cross" you refer to? Is it on this album?

An Unfortunate Omission in "Calvary Cross"

Yes, in response to previous reviewer--this is the last song on the disc, a long, ruminative yet deceptively intense piece that sounds like nothing else I've ever heard. Unfortunate that it is not included here.


Referring to Hammys review; everything being personal, to me 'The Calvary Cross" just doesn't compare to 'Dimming of the Day" by Linda Thompson or Richard's '1952 Vincent Black Lightening". With all due respect Hammy, 'The Calvary Cross is a fine opus, but just a little too strungout.


Born: 1948 in Hackney, London, England

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Born Linda Pettifer, Linda Thompson, then known as Linda Peters, made an inauspicious debut as half of Paul & Linda in 1968. The duo, which included singer Paul McNeill, recorded two singles, the first being a cover of Bob Dylan's "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" for MGM in the U.K. In 1972, following a couple of years of session work, singing commercial jingles, and working the folk clubs around London, she teamed with friend Sandy Denny and other assorted members of the British folk-rock scene to record...
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The Best of Richard and Linda Thompson: The Island Record Years, Linda Thompson
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