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Henry The Human Fly Original recording remastered


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Biography

Richard Thompson was born at his parents' home in the Spring of 1949, in West-London, and spent his early years in post war Britain, surrounded by a family with wide musical tastes. Counted among his early influences are Django Reinhardt, Fats Waller, Les Paul, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. Flip the coin from his father’s jazz record collection to the early rock and roll music ... Read more in Amazon's Richard Thompson Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (5 July 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Fledg'ling Records
  • ASIN: B0002F16JC
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,619 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Roll Over Vaughn Williams 4:14£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Nobody's Wedding 3:16£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. The Poor Ditching Boy 3:02£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Shaky Nancy 3:29£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. The Angles Took My Race Horse Away 4:01£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Wheely Down 3:04£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. The New St George 2:10£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Painted Ladies 3:34£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Cold Feet 2:31£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Mary And Joseph 1:41£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. The Old Changing Way 3:56£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Twisted 2:00£0.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description

On this, his first solo album, Richard explores old ballad forms, the music of pre-industrial times, to create an extraordinary series of precise songs. An elusive mix of ebullient music hall and doleful folk-rock. This music raises as many questions as it answers. Thompson's intention was to create English rock 'n' roll, his closest allies seem to be William Blake and William Morris rather than Bob Dylan and Chuck Berry.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. Rose on 26 Aug. 2004
Format: Audio CD
On his live album Alone With His Guitar, Richard Thompson refers to Henry the Human Fly as 'Warner's fastest-deleted album'. Nor surprisingly, it's always been hard to find, and as my tape version is not what it once was I'm delighted to see it's now available on CD.
RT wasn't long out of Fairport when he made this and the songs retain the folky feyness of his Fairport work. There are some wonderful musicians in the band, including Linda Peters, the future Mrs Thompson, on backing vocals. Some of the songs are definitely strange, like Nobody's Wedding and Mary and Joseph. Don't worry: you're not supposed to understand them. Several have direct links to the popular music of the past, which became what we call folk music nowadays - New St George is an example of that. There are some great ballads, like The Old Changing Way and my own favourite The Angels Took my Racehorse Away. A few years ago my son and I were at an RT gig in London and my son kept shouting 'Racehorse!' to get him to play this for me: RT was a bit miffed by this and we couldn't work out whether he really didn't understand what we wanted, or he did but he just didn't want to play it. Or didn't want to be shouted at.
I thought it would be smart a while ago to get a car with a CD player and didn't realise that meant I'd have to replace all my vinyl and tapes with CDs...so all my favourite artists are now getting another chunk of royalties from me. I don't begrudge it to RT for Henry the Human Fly though. It was about time!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Palle Bruselius on 17 July 2003
Format: Audio CD
Few would have figured out what Richard Thompson was up to when he left Fairport Convention. His first solo album was a surprise to a lot of fans. Most would have expected a lot of exciting electric guitar bu the album is mainly accoustic. The arrangements are very much down to earth based as they are on accoustic guitar, bass, drums,occasional accordion and/or fiddle.
The lyrics are dark and moving and the music is clearly based on the folk traditions. Quite a few of the songs have become folk club standards. among the outstanding tracks you will find Poor ditching boy, New St.George, The angels took my racehorse away (what a a title) and Painted Ladies. Later albums contains a lot of electric guitar virtuosity, you will only find snippets here and there on this album. But the songwriting virtuosity is very evident on Henry The Human Fly. The album is a must have for all who are interested in Richard Thompson's music - maybe one of the gratest songwriters in the making. Absolutely recommended. Buy it!
Palle Bruselius
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Reinder Dijkhuis on 31 Aug. 2004
Format: Audio CD
Fledg'ling records have reissued Henry the Human Fly, which is great news. Richard Thompson's solo debut from 1972 had been kinda-sorta available since 1991, but I for one had never seen it in the shops before.
It's one of the best Thompson has made in a long and illustrious career. In every decade since the 1960s, Thompson has come out with at least one album that ranks among the best made that decade, and occasionally with more. <i>Henry the Human Fly</i> is a bit difficult to get into but once you get past the sound of Thompson's voice on this first attempt, you will hear great songwriting with the deceptively simple tunes and gut-wrenching lyrics that have been his trademark ever since.
The guitar playing is also beautiful, effective and mature. <i>Mojo</i> listed the record as one of the 20 greatest guitar albums ever, but don't expect a record driven by guitar pyrotechnics. Thompson's guitar playing, even then, served the songs, and not the other way around.
Standout tracks:
"Roll Over Vaughn Williams", which has a dense, dark guitar sound, Meg White-style tic-toc drumming and what sounds like a heavily processed accordion backing the vocal line. It's moody and eccentric. The accordion (if that what it is) sounds more like a medieval crumhorn - it's not conventionally good accordion playing but, along with Thompson's heavy rhythm guitar, it adds to the scary effect of the song.
"Nobody's Wedding", a slow, tuneful piece interrupted by slow reels played (excellently) by John Kirkpatrick on the accordion. The lyrics tell of a party that went on for sixteen days and sixteen nights "and it weren't even nobody's wedding". With the protagonist oblivious to the goings-on, the party spins out of control.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on 11 Jan. 2004
Format: Audio CD
Richard Thompson was a founding member of the seminal British folk-rock group Fairport Convention, but by the start of the 1970s the songs he was writing were clearly going in a different direction from the rest of the group, which was moving towards more traditional English folk music. So in 1972 Thompson embarked on his solo career with his first album, "Henry the Human Fly," which has the distinction of being the worst selling album in the history of Warner Bros. Records.
The obvious explanation would be that copies of the albums were never taken out of the boxes and put on the shelves in the record stores (remember those?), because this is an excellent album which showcases both Thompson's songwriting skill and his superb guitar work on mostly acoustic, but still some electric guitar. The songs are still a mixture of the traditional British folk music with contemporary rock 'n' roll, but with more of Thompson's peculiar brand of dark humor coming through than before. The ballad "The Poor Ditching Boy," "The New St. George," and "The Old Changing Way" are very much in the traditional vein, while "The Angels Took My Racehorse Away" (with the great guitar solo) and "Roll Over Vaughn Williams" are clearly representative of the modern folk-rock style. The result is Thompson establishing his own voice as a solo artist.
Also appearing on the album are Sandy Denny and Ashley Hutchings, the former lead singer and co-founder of Fairport Convention respectively, and Linda Peters, whom Thompson would marry. Two years later they would put out their first album together, "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight," which is even better than this album. Ultimately I think of Richard Thompson as being the male counterpart to Sandy Denny, as pre-eminent British folk singers who accomplished even more after they left Fairport Convention than they did when the group was making great albums like "Unhalfbricking" and "Liege & Leaf."
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