|13||April||1979||Richard and Linda Thompson||First light|
In or around January 1979, I read about the release of this record in 'Rolling Stone' magazine, a copy of which I picked up in the old central bus station in Rehovot whilst waiting for a bus to take me to my kibbutz. I think that I was surprised at reading this as I had the impression by the time of my emigration in September 1978 that the Thompsons had seemed to have given up music. I wasn't to know that around the same time, Joe Boyd convinced Richard to contribute on a record fronted by Julie Covington (who was a hot name that year, having sung the lead part in 'Evita') and then continue to record a duo album with Linda, backed by some of the musicians who also contributed to Covington's record.
In those days, there was no possibility (or maybe I never considered the possibility) of purchasing the record in Israel. There would have been no local pressing and there were few specialist record shops in Israel which would have stocked an imported copy of an obscure British act. I had to wait a few months until my father came to visit me, bringing with him the record.
Unlike most of the Thompson genre, this record is heavily produced, but I think that the production actually helps some of the songs. From what I have read, I seem to hold a minority point of view regarding the production. There are several songs which have made their way onto the Thompson compilation stored on my mp3 player so I hear them frequently. It's very interesting to hear 'Died for love', along with its many instrumental parts (recalling the coda to 'When I get to the border'); it's even more interesting (at least, to me) to consider how the American rhythm section (Willie Weeks, Andy Newmark and Neil Larson) handle what sounds like classic British folk rock.
Years later I was able to identify the oboe played on 'Strange affair'; at the time, I thought that it was the guitar synthesizer that Richard was credited with as playing. Of course, this track went on to become the title of a DCI Banks novel (which was very good).