My favorite album from my favorite vocalist (Linda) and my favorite guitarist (Richard) when they were still married. Not an especially uplifting record, but if you're at all interested in British folk, stellar songwriting, and two crazy talented people at the peak of their powers, it's worth checking out.
Recorded quickly and on the cheap in the spring of 1973, I WANT TO SEE THE BRIGHT LIGHTS TONIGHT went unreleased until the following spring owing partly to Island Records executives' discomfort with the Thompsons' bleak existentialism and aversion to celebrity, but also due to a vinyl shortage resulting from the Arab oil embargo. Thompson had become reacquainted with Linda Peters, a session singer, while the two worked on his solo debut, the fantastic and underappreciated HENRY THE HUMAN FLY (1972). That album took a brutal and undeserved hazing from the music press which no doubt instilled some bitterness and self-doubt in Thompson, a guy who was already shy. After Thompson marries Linda (October of 1972) and the two become a duo, she becomes the frontman. While I WANT TO SEE THE BRIGHT LIGHTS TONIGHT received some decent reviews, mostly it was ignored when finally released by Island in 1974. By then Richard and Linda had become Sufis, the esoteric branch of Islam that is the polar opposite of the Salafi movement that is having such a violent, transformative effect on the Middle East today. BRIGHT LIGHTS is a masterpiece, plain and simple. It is a profound Hippie assessment of the world after the last rays of light from the Summer of Love have disappeared. It is a winter's album. Cold, dark, harrowing. It is a tribute to secularism and existentialism. The stories are of work and suffering. No greater tandem of songs to end an album can be found than "The End of the Rainbow," which Thompson wrote for his newborn daughter! and "The Great Valerio."
Final bonus track skips mid-way through.
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