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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Live At The BBC (NTSC)
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£66.39+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

VINE VOICEon 21 June 2011
61 tracks (over three CDs) of pure delight from Richard (and Linda) Thompson one of the world's best and unique guitarists and songwriters, that's what this box brings as well as a 19 Track DVD of BBC recordings mainly from the `Old Grey Whistle Test', what is great about this set is that in my opinion these `live' performances represent the very best of Richard Thompson, quite often the spontaneity is lost from the studio albums, Live RT has always been a top performer, and it shows in every way in this set. This set is also thoughtfully annotated and comes with a pretty extensive 38 page book, and each disc is held (overlapping) in a `digi slot' similar to the Fairport Convention BBC box.
Sure the sound quality is at times not studio standard but always 100% performance, and given the way the BBC have in the past treated their legacy this set is one of the strongest and most consistent in terms of sound quality that there has been. Too difficult to pick out highlights but the track listing is shown on Amazon so you can pick almost any of the tracks.
Casual RT fans should lap this up there is enough throughout the set to enjoy, and this compliments the studio albums well. If it could give this set 6 stars I would.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 June 2011
Stretching from 1973 to 2009, this box is considerably more ambitious than the previous BBC boxed sets for Sandy Denny and Fairport Convention. I apologise in advance for the long review but if you order it right now it may have arrived by the time you finish reading. And you won't regret it. (Ordering, that is, I can't make any promises about the reading part.)


This is again deluxe packaging on the lines of earlier sets in the series, with the decent booklet "bound" into the centre of a book-style set. The discs are not held by the same plastic trays, however, and I don't care for the very fiddly new system, that involves depressing tabs to remove each disc. There is no detailed personnel information in the booklet, which is an oversight, but the presentation is nevertheless good.


Many fans will head straight to the DVD: eighty minutes of reasonably high-quality video stamped with the BBC's occasionally odd fashions for performance footage. Speaking of odd fashions, it must have been cold under those studio lights, since Richard and Linda begin in 1975 with a brace of songs in woolly hats: a slightly uncertain "Jet Plane in a Rocking Chair" followed by a superb performance of "A House Needs A Home".

Seven songs from 1981 include Linda's lovely performance of Denny's "I'm a Dreamer" and a very nice "Shoot Out The Lights". An excellent "Dargai" is played alone rather than as the endpoint of "Dimming of the Day", although fans of that song will not be disappointed by the version here, in a distinctive arrangement with accordion and banjo. "Pavanne" from a Jake Thackray programme confirms the initial conclusion that this is a great set for fans of Linda's voice.

Disappointingly, the songs from 1985, though broadcast by the BBC, constitute footage from the concert commercially released as Across a Crowded Room, which many fans of Thompson will own already. It's very good footage, but not complete and not new, so only valuable if you don't have it. Fans of Thompson's hats will not want to miss the one he wears on the climactic performance of "She Twists The Knife Again".

Overall, the DVD is a definite plus of the set, with sound quality and a quality of performance that means that it is included for more than curiosity value.


At nearly four hours, the audio tracks here - almost all apparently new to CD - offer an enormous haul of new material.

For the first few tracks, audible tape hiss is an acceptable sound defect that cannot blight a lively performance of "I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight" with a live brass band, nor a strong, accordionless "Hokey Pokey". "A Heart Needs A Home" with a piano is one of several intriguing arrangements that follow. An extensive live set from 1982, right at the end of Linda's time with Richard, shows her voice touchingly ragged on "Withered and Died". A more conventional "Dimming of the Day", accompanied solely by guitar, will be a treat to many despite the fact that the source tape is not the best. We say goodbye to Linda at the end of the first CD.

Disc 2 takes up the story in 1985 with an Andy Kershaw session full of unexpected pop appeal. Next we are in an extended live set from 1986 whose highlights include a beautiful take on "Jennie" and an especially firey "Fire In The Engine Room", before ducking back to the Andy Kershaw session for ten solo tracks. These acoustic versions are well recorded and quite a treat: they include a performance of "When The Spell Is Broken" that contrasts enormously with the band version at the start of the disc. If you haven't heard the solo guitar version of "Shoot Out The Lights", be ready to be amazed. The solo session ends with "The End of the Rainbow": a moving end to a set of performances that is pretty much essential listening.

Disc 3 flashes forward to the new century but carries over the solo acoustic guitar vibe. I found this the most intriguing part of the set, because there were several songs here that I did not know in acoustic versions: "Gethsemane", "Outside of the Inside", "Did She Jump Or Was She Pushed?", "One Door Opens", "Dad's Gonna Kill Me". There is a comparative rarity too in the non-album track "Kidzz". The penultimate session on the boxed set features solo performances of songs from 1000 Years of Popular Music including the beautiful "A-Hunting the Wren", which to the best of my knowledge has not been previously released. "Time's Gonna Break You" was a new Thompson original to me, and a typical example of his pet genre: "songs of menace and resentment". The set concludes, aptly, with the Fairport anthem "Meet on the Ledge", providing a point of return for this weighty post-Fairport retrospective.

The absence of band from these later sessions will disappoint those primarily drawn by Thompson's reputation as a great electric guitarist, but collectors will be pleased at getting so many versions that vary from album versions. I have skated over the issue of duplication; certainly several of these songs appear in multiple guises, but there is probably enough variation in them to head off complaints. Listeners looking for a representative collection will nevertheless be shocked at many of the omissions: no "Beeswing" or "1952 Vincent Black Lightning", for example. Long-term fans will not be troubled that this set does not even attempt to be a "best of".

Despite the narrowness of its focus upon a limited number of appearances and configurations, however, this is an absolutely stellar addition to Thompson's discography that is absolutely essential for fans of his work with Linda, his 1980s output and his solo acoustic work. A landmark boxed set.
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on 20 June 2011
Being a life-long RT fan I pretty much expected this collection to be something special. I already own the BBC Fairport boxed set, the quality of which is outstanding both in terms of the music and the product itself. This set repeats that standard. Basically the set consists of 3 well-filled CDs (61 tracks) and a 19 track DVD. The discs are housed in the format of a hardback book. The 38 page book itself contains background info' about the Thompson's BBC recordings, as well as photos and tracklistings. Even if you have all of Thompson's albums prior to this release it is still worth investing in as virtually all of the material here is previously unreleased. I also believe Thompson to be one of a handful of great musicians who actually performs better 'live' than he does in the studio. Most of the performances here differ greatly from their original studio incarnations, whilst some others were never previously recorded at all. Highly recommended.
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on 9 November 2012
Being Richard Thompson it goes without saying that this is a worthwhile purchase for any serious music lover. All of it is good, much of it excellent, some truly outstanding.My major gripe, though, is what is missing. I still have cassette recordings of a couple of sessions Richard did solo for Andy Kershaw in the early 90's ,containing material from Rumour and Sigh, and Mirror Blue. Fantastic versions of Vincent Black Lightning, I Feel So Good, King of Bohemia, and others. Indeed no sign of anything from this 'era' at all. Has it been wiped ? Yet we get 4 versions of She Twists the Knife Again ! - hardly one of his greatest songs !
However, despite the over-duplication and sometimes iffy sound quality, this is a treat for Thompson fans - just could have been so much better !!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 June 2011
Richard Thompson surely by any standards is one of the finest singer/songwriters ever.He should be recognised alongside Neil Young,Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Bruce Springsteen, such is the consistent quality of his music.On top of that he's one of the greatest guitarists ever, and this is recognised by guitar polls over the years. After two recent box sets, both exceptional as well,we now have this one of his work over several years for the BBC and what a stunning set it is.We get three CD's and a DVD.61 tracks over the CD's all of them bar three never released before.The recording quality is as with all BBC ones excellent.CD 1 is for mer highlighted with a concert set with his then wife Linda,who posseses such a beautiful voice and Richards songs use it to the full.From a Folk On Two session we hear her as always incredible singing of one of RT's most loved songs 'Dimming Of The Day', add to this sessions for John Peel, you have in just disc 1 20 great tracks from 1973 to 1982.Worth the price alone but then disc 2 another twenty classic performances by Richard and his band on vaious radio shows including Andy Kershaw and again another fabulous live set from the Hammersmith |Palais in '86. Then we come to disc three, this is Richard and his guitar and this set is absolutely stunning, 21 songs again from various shows 2001 to 2009. The full quality of not only the songs but Richards excellent voice but that awesome guitar playing that we all wonder just how he does it,sounds at times like two or three playing instead of one,From three songs from Sweet Warrior.FRom Bob Harris's Show we get three songs from the '1000 Years Of Popular Music' Tour of 2009.Bob Harris is a huge RT fan anyway. If you need any convincing at all just take a listen to the first three songs on this set from Andy Kershaw's show,boy did he have some talent on that show ?. Again a truly stunning and enjoyable set.Hold on we've also got the DVD to go, and hey even more treasures here from Old Grey Whistle Test 1973 through to a great concert set again from Late Night In Concert with his band on top form,yes 20 wonderful visual tracks to enjoy again and again.
Earlier this year Richard and his band played Oxford and reviews all came back with'The best gig the city will see by anyone anywhere in 2011.
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on 7 August 2011
Well this is a timely addition to the Richard Thompson canon supplementing previously releases career compilations such as the excellent "Watching the Dark" compilation released by Haannibal some years ago.Everything youd ever want to know about Richard Thompsons post Fairport career from the partnership with Linda Thompson through his solo work backed at various times by a cast of exemplary musicians.Im particularly fond of the 1985/86 period with Clive Gregson and Christine Collister in tow ,the sound throughout this CD is magnificent.The solo stuff is exemplary,check out the solo session playing "Wall of Death" and youll see what I mean.And to add to the delights of the audio material theres a fourth CD of video material from various sessions for programmes such as the Old Grey Whistle Test and more obscure TV appearances.A must buy for all you Thompson fans and a great introduction for those less familiar with his work.
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on 10 April 2013
There are big, important parts of his career that aren't covered: did the BBC stop asking him to work for them? What's there is great, and the video stuff is mostly excellent: but the bit from 'A Little Night Music' is infuriating. Why did that prat of a producer cut 'Night Comes In' into chunks, why didn't he show all of it, and why didn't he show the musicians? What did the photos have to do with the music?
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on 28 January 2015
A nice boxset to showcase where Richard Thompson's real talent lies, playing live. This 3cd and 1dvd box set really demonstrates his amazing song writing talent not to mention his great guitar work. From his early stuff with Linda Thompson to the the late noughties, it's all here. OK some of the recordings are not great, but it's still of historic value. The set itself is presented in a nice format as show in the photos, with a decent booklet bound into the centre spine of the box set. So this is a must for all RT fans. I'd give it 4 and half stars.
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on 12 May 2014
Always delivers. been a fan for 30 years.While i can't see this winning many new fans- action packed-best of will do that- this is just a great addition.
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on 7 February 2014
Fantastic collection of recordings to sit beside the Free Reed box. Not just for completeists the tracks stand up amazingly well.
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