Richard Thompson Songs Ranked

Richard Thompson OBE (born 3 April 1949) is an English singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Thompson first gained prominence in the late 1960s as the lead guitarist and songwriter for the folk-rock group Fairport Convention, which he had co-founded in 1967. After departing the group in 1971, Thompson released his debut solo album Henry the Human Fly 1972. The next year, he formed a duo with his then-wife Linda Thompson, which produced six albums, including the critically acclaimed I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (1974) and Shoot Out the Lights (1982). After the dissolution of the duo, Thompson revived his solo career with the release of Hand of Kindness in 1983. He has released a total of eighteen solo studio albums. Three of his albums – Rumor and Sigh (1991), You? Me? Us? (1996), and Dream Attic (2010) – have been nominated for Grammy Awards, while Still (2015) was his first UK Top Ten album. He continues to write and record new material regularly and frequently performs live at venues throughout the world. Here are all of Richard Thompson’s songs ranked.

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15. Down Where The Drunkards Roll (I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, 1974)

“I loved Richard and Linda together. Richard alone, as fine as he is on guitar, has never been as good as the two of them together. If you’ve got even a bit of Elizabethan in you, this is a wonderful song……and if you happen to be Scotch-Irish living in the South, the whole album is classic.”

14. Waltzing’s For Dreamers (Amnesia, 1988)

“Really good Richard Thompson album. All the songs are of a high standard and lyrically brilliant. Not a bad track on here, and the highlights are right up there with his best work. Some lovely guitar work as always, and he is in fine voice too. Recommended.”

13. Cooksferry Queen (Mock Tudor, 1999)

“This is an excellent album, but not one of a goosebump-kind, nor one that thrills or shocks. It is a laid-back, easy-going, safe-on-the-ear excellent. Simply excellent, without being so memorable. The musicianship is high, as is to be expected of Richard Thompson. “

12. From Galway to Graceland (Watching the Dark, 1993)

“His voice is undemanding and unassuming, which blends perfectly with his effortless guitar playing. It works beautifully in the background on first listen.”

11. The Great Valerio (I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, 1974)

“Another great album from Richard Thompson. And so it goes. Thompson is right on the mark again with a nice mix of ballads and rockers featuring some blistering guitar work.”

See more: Richard Thompson Albums Ranked

10. Turning Of The Tide (Amnesia, 1988)

“A rhythmic, groovy track that does sound like Los Lobos from the late 80’s, which borders on catchy pop despite its rather spiteful lyric”

9. Persuasion (Sweet Talker, 1991)

“Richard Thompson and his son Teddy take turns singing and also harmonize on this track, which is one of the most beautiful and touching songs I’ve ever heard. The backing instrumental work is outstanding as well.”

8. I Misunderstood (Rumor and Sigh, 1991)

“I Misunderstood,” tells the tale of a lover who fails to read the signals of his adored object and subsequently gets spurned, possibly as a result of what happened in the first two songs.”

7. Dad’s Gonna Kill Me (Sweet Warrior, 2007)

“This song got stuck in my head when I heard it on Sons of Anarchy. Then, I got fascinated with the song when I really listened to the lyrics and realized it was about Baghdad.”

6. Dimming Of The Day (Pour Down Like Silver, 1975)

“This album is worth the cost for Linda Thompson’s recording of “Dimming of the Day”. I was a bit disappointed in Alison Krauss’ rendition; I would rate Mary Black’s a close second to the one on this album. Richard Thompson is in the first rank of popular songwriters, not to mention his singing and incomparable guitar work. Linda Thompson’s voice was wonderful. I wonder if she still performs?”

See more: Fairport Convention Albums Ranked

5. I Feel so Good (Rumor and Sigh, 1991)

“I Feel So Good”, an excellent song about a man just released from prison, “I Feel So Good,” despite the upbeat music, is a dark snippet about a hoodlum who, fresh out of jail, is hell-bent to continue his wicked ways by getting into knife fights, vandalizing property, and seducing pretty young things. “I’m old enough to sin but I’m too young to vote,” he boasts. Thompson puts so much energy into the vocal that you feel both threatened and in awe of the protagonist.

4. Tear Stained Letter (Hand of Kindness, 1983)

“Tear Stained Letter” is a powerful upbeat opener and a classic song.  the opening “Tear Stained Letter” reads like the work of a sad, bitter man. (“Cry, cry if it makes you feel better/Set it all down in a tear-stained letter.”) However, the music is so boisterous, featuring an accordion and a raucous saxophone solo, that there is no time for feeling blue.”

3. Wall of Death (Shoot Out the Lights, 1982)

“A mid-tempo country-influenced song with an addictive refrain. Somehow the metaphor, though a bit on the nose, really works. The harmonies, to my ear, seem to clash, which is interesting, not something one would hear in the autotuned era. I can see why R.E.M. would cover it, as their sound was undoubtedly influenced by Richard Thomas.”

2. 1952 Vincent Black Lightning (Rumor and Sigh, 1991)

“Hearkening back to his folk days, it’s just Thompson and his acoustic guitar telling a tale of a leather-clad tough, his red-headed lass, and his beloved vintage motorcycle.”

1. Beeswing (Mirror Blue, 1994)

“Yet when Thompson pares it back to just his voice and guitar and lets his storytelling rise to the fore you get the heartbreaking “beeswing” which is better than anything else on the record .”