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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An indispensable classic of British folk-rock
There is no point writing at length about this album - it is a sheer classic and demonstrates clearly why Richard Thompson is such an original musical talent. Despite not being rock in any conventional sense, it has been recognised as one of the most notable British albums of the 70s. With simple but effective arrangements, the rough-edged 'live' sound perfectly suits the...
Published on 10 Jan. 2005

versus
3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars pass the happy pills
This album should come with a government health warning . There is not a note of optimism on any track . I loved Thompson's work with the early Fairports and was expecting something different to this outpouring of gloom which makes Leonard Cohen sound like Cheerful Charlie Chester . The message is basic - don't bother getting out of bed because everything is crap . Glad I...
Published 10 months ago by david handy ( a mackem )


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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An indispensable classic of British folk-rock, 10 Jan. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (Audio CD)
There is no point writing at length about this album - it is a sheer classic and demonstrates clearly why Richard Thompson is such an original musical talent. Despite not being rock in any conventional sense, it has been recognised as one of the most notable British albums of the 70s. With simple but effective arrangements, the rough-edged 'live' sound perfectly suits the subject matter of the more rhythmic tracks, whilst the sadness in Linda's voice on slow songs like 'Withered and died' and 'Has he got a friend' is truly touching. Richard and Linda's vocals are very different, and reflect the varied moods of the songs, whilst the combination of traditional folk instruments such as dulcimer, accordion and recorder with the electric guitar/bass/drums format and even a silver band is refreshingly different, maybe unique. In fact the whole album is a breath of fresh air, and a wonderful contrast to the emotionless over-production of so much current music.
The album has recently been given a new lease of life with the new remastering, which makes the recording even clearer and louder than before (I had the earlier CD issue and to me the remaster is definitely an improvement). The booklet gives full lyrics and credits, together with a brief essay and a few archive photos. There are also three live tracks added at the end (as on the other new Island remasters of the Thompsons' albums), but though these are of interest in demonstrating how the songs were typically performed on stage, they are not of any real significance.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An indispensable classic of British folk-rock, 6 Mar. 2001
By A Customer
There is no point writing at length about this album - it is a sheer classic and demonstrates clearly why Richard Thompson is such an original musical talent. Despite not being rock in any conventional sense, it has been recognised as one of the most notable British albums of the 70s. With simple but effective arrangements, the rough-edged 'live' sound perfectly suits the subject matter of the more rhythmic tracks, whilst the sadness in Linda's voice on slow songs like 'Withered and died' and 'Has he got a friend' is truly touching. Richard and Linda's vocals are very different, and reflect the varied moods of the songs, whilst the combination of traditional folk instruments such as dulcimer, accordion and recorder with the electric guitar/bass/drums format and even a silver band is refreshingly different, maybe unique. In fact the whole album is a breath of fresh air, and a wonderful contrast to the emotionless over-production of so much current music.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes Morrisey look like Steps, 4 Jun. 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (Audio CD)
This album has to be one of the bleakest in the annals of ''British'' Rock, but thats not to say its not also one of the most breathtaking.The humour is there together with the despair; and the intelligence and the marvellous tunes ,playing and singing. Something of a peak for Richard and Linda T.,groundbreaking,life affirming,humane and damn catchy.I would recommend this album to my worst enemy.It does what music should do:adds another dimension to life. Buy!(its relatively cheap)and enjoy.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential English folk record, 10 Dec. 1999
By A Customer
Combining exotic medieval instruments with his own blistering guitar, Richard Thompson and his then-wife, Linda crafted one of the greatest folk records of all time. Linda's voice, in particular, is a standout, especially on the heart-wrenching "Withered and Died." Other standout tracks include the rollicking "When I get to the Border," and the title track, the jubilant "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight." This should sit proudly next to "Blonde on Blonde" and "Astral Weeks" on your CD shelf.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Old Friend Re-upholstered..., 16 April 2004
This review is from: I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (Audio CD)
A superb remastering job by Island, who have also finally done the decent thing and put out Hokey Pokey and Pour Down... as well. If you don't know this album, there are fuller reviews elsewhere for the old edition, but there is one significant factor that may endear this to hardened RT fans. The ten minute version of Calvary Cross added as a bonus track is NOT the version previously available on the (admittedly harder to find than hens' teeth) Guitar, Vocal. Having noticed that the bonus tracks on Pour Down... come mostly from Guitar, Vocal, this was a pleasant surprise.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine reissue of an undisputed classic, 21 Sept. 2004
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This review is from: I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (Audio CD)
I'm guessing that most people reading this will already be familiar with the music since 'I Want To The Bright Lights Tonight' has always been available since its release thirty years ago. If, by some chance, you've never heard it then be assured that it's a great album and you could do lot worse than kick off your Richard Thompson collection here: you won't regret your purchase.
Apart from the rather uncharacteristic 'Henry The Human Fly', this is Thompson's earliest solo work and the first to prominently feature the gorgeous voice of his then-wife, Linda. It is a work of remarkable assurance and maturity, yet despite the beauty and majesty of the performances, Thompson's 70s output contained some of the darkest and bleakest music you'll hear and 'Bright Lights' is no exception. Although there are some upbeat performaces, notably the opener 'When I Get To The Border', the title track, 'We Sing Hallelujah' and the traditional-sounding 'Little Beggar Girl', the dominant tone is sorrow for things lost and regret for things done and undone. While this sombre tone reaches its nadir with the hopelessly misanthropic 'The End Of The Rainbow', many of the slower numbers are achingly beautiful, notably 'Withered And Died' and 'The Great Valerio'. The musicianship from all involved is peerless and the arrangements are flawless. It's not hard to hear why this album established Richard And Linda Thompson as one of the essential non-mainstream acts of the 1970s and why 'Bright Lights' in particular continues to top all-time greatest album polls.
What about the quality of the reissue itself? It's pretty good, although not up to the quality of Island's Fairport reissue program. The CD comes housed in a slipcase and the booklet contains full lyrics and a critical history of the LP. The notes could be more detailed, I believe, since I didn't really learn anything new. Also, the booklet could do with more photos. Nevertheless, it's good to see Island Records finally giving Richard Thompson's back catalogue the respect it deserves. The package is topped off with three bonus live tracks, all of them previously unavailable; indeed 'Together Again', a cover of an old fifties rocker has probably not been heard since it was performed.
All told, this is a fine repackaging of a very fine album and I recommend it without hesitation.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking debut album from the Thompsons, 10 May 2004
By 
Dr. D. B. Sillars - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (Audio CD)
This is simply one of the best albums ever recorded and is at last given the remastered treatment. Richard Thompson developed his inimitable songwriting and guitar skills within Fairport Convention who themselves released some classic albums, in particular “Leige and Leif”. Though the group were pigeonholed as an electric folk/rock group, Thompson transcended the genre to the extent that he is rightfully regarded as one of England’s best songwriters.
“I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight” was the first musical collaboration between the then husband and wife team and the results were nothing short of astonishing. The opening “When I Get to the Border” starts things off sprightly enough with some great ensemble instrumental playing, which include krumhorns provided by Gryphon’s Richard Harvey and Brian Gulland and the excellent accordions of John Kirkpatrick. Next up “The Calvary Cross” and this is a classic. Live, it is extended to include great electric guitar soloing by Thompson. A 10 minute live version is added to this remastered release. “Down Where the Drunkards Roll” is a particular favourite. The sadness of the song deepened by the dulcimer playing of Simon Nicol. But the best is left to last. “The Great Valerio” is a showcase for Linda’s plaintive voice and Richards own haunting acoustic guitar playing. The mood is stark and sombre, but this is one of the saddest and most beautiful songs ever written. These are just some personal highlights, but the whole album is brim full of wonderful songs, none of which have lost their allure over the years.
The following albums, “Hokey Pokey” and “Pour Down Like Silver”, which are also re-issued in remastered form, never quite reached the artistic heights of this album, though “Pour Down Like Silver” comes very close.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melencholy starts here, 9 Feb. 2007
By 
A. J. Rabet "Rabs" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (Audio CD)
Bright Lights was the first album to be recorded by Richard and Linda Thompson as a duo and it rates amongst their finest achievements. Why do I say this - quite simply because the standard of the albums they recorded together was exemplary and almost without fault.

RT's take on life is well illustrated here with some masterpieces as "The Calvary Cross" "I want to see the Bright Lights tonight" " The Little Beggar Girl" etc etc in fact all the tracks have worthy bits.

The track I find especially fascinating is "The End of the Rainbow" a song quite obviously telling a toddler to grow up and to forget about all those things of comfort we have in childhood such as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Poor old Teddy Thompson never had a chance did he!

Finally a word about longevity of RT's work is the fact that I bought this album when at University after seeing RT some 30 years ago and I still love it today.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless?, 28 Feb. 2010
This review is from: I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (Audio CD)
As mum once told me as she looked disapprovingly at one of my cheap shirts, quality lasts. Pondering this, I decided to randomly raid my music collection to find a long forgotten album I had once loved to see if it still cut it in today's throw-away music climate. Flicking through, I stopped at this copy of a once favoured Richard and Linda Thompson album, dusted it off, and gave it a spin. This record used to get much hammer back in the day, but It's laid dormant for...oooh... thirty years, with maybe one or two exceptions.

OK, what have we got? We have all the elements of an Island Records' Folk-Rock product: Mandolin? check. Virtuoso guitar? Of course. Chunky minimal drumming? Uh huh. Accordian? Mais oui. Krummhorn? ...erm...blimey!
These elements underpin the natural authority of these narrative songs, which hold the attention with a vice-like grip. We are mesmerised from start to finish. Linda Thompson has an empathy to her clear, velvety voice that just melts your heart. By comparison Richard's scratchy voice couldn't hold a candle to her on paper, but he can deliver a song with rare gravitas.

There is an underlying melancholy to the whole album, even with upbeat the title track, which is ostensibly all about going out on the town to let your hair down. However, beneath that melancholy is a stature that is infectious. You feel somehow ennobled just listening to it...especially with the mighty second track Calvary Cross, which is so epic, it's easier imagining it being unearthed by Time Team rather than being written.

So, back to my original question, does it hold up in today's music climate? Well, like an edition of Life On Mars, everything seemed to operate at a different level back in the day...but the songs are robust. They stay with you and live in you, entertain, educate, and enrich. The album does sound of it's time, but its sheer integrity, power and resonance leaves me hankering for less canny, less market-led days...oh, and better shirts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Starter for 5...., 22 Oct. 2007
By 
MisterKeith (Southgate, London, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (Audio CD)
This is where I started with Richard Thompson: possibly not the best of ideas, because this album is simply flawless and nothing else can realistically compare!

If you come into this album thinking that folk music is all about people is Aran sweaters with their finger in their ear, you're in for a rude awakening. Yes, OK, so "When I Get To The Border" and "We Sing Hallelujah" have clearly strong folk influences, but songs like "The Calvary Cross" and "I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight" wear their rock-heart on their sleeve - the latter has a particularly fine groove going on (or something).

My own personal favourite is "Withered And Died", with a heartbreaking vocal performance from Linda, and some very sharp lyrics. An absolutely glorious track.

This is an exceptionally fine album, which would be cheap at twice the price. Buy it - you can't really go wrong.
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