Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Complementing Richard and Linda's Stellar Library
dev1 | Baltimore | 06/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Probably the worst person to review a Richard and LindaThompson album is an ardent Richard and Linda fan (likemyself). Devoted followers either compare the release to the dagger-through-the-heart benchmark `Shoot Out The Lights,' or paint the album with a broad Richard and Linda Midas brush (everything that they touch turns to gold). Although next to impossible, I'm going to try to be objective, and not allow the previous criteria to cloud my mind. The vocal arrangements, provided by a choir of more than a dozen English folk-rock luminaries, are rich and glorious (Sweet Surrender, Strange Affair, House Of Cards). The star here is not Richard, but Linda. Her solo ballad `Sweet Surrender' is gently melodic and heart-warming. And her interpretation of the fatalistic tale of love (Died For Love) is convincing and intense. Linda's most vivid performance is `Pavanne:' her comely voice perfectly contradicts Richard's harrowing lyrical narrative. She even manages to upstage Richard on the soothing duet `First Light.' For compelling songwriting, `Strange Affair' is an affectionate and mystical look at death. Despite the album's captivating lyrics, intriguing song structures and beautiful harmonies; there is trouble in paradise. The guitar introduction (The Choice Wife) of `Died For Love' is self-indulgent and just too long. `Layla' is a weak and uninspired rocker (the off-key chorus is horrid). `House Of Cards' contains a dramatic and luscious chorus, but the structure is simplistic and repetitive. In summary, `First Light' beats the pants off ninety-percent of everything in the folk-rock genre. For fans, it will complement (rather than distract from) Richard and Linda's stellar library. First-time listeners will be elated. Besides, musical perfection is a never ending goal."
dev1 | 06/17/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Richard and Linda's fourth album together clearly did not live up to the standards of the first three ("I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight," "Hokey Pokey," and "Pour Down Like Silver") and as a result it is frequently dismissed as an inconsequential and insubstantial part of the their catalog. This is unfair, because for all its weaknesses, this is still a good album.True, the production indicates an attempt to "cash in" on the west coast commercial fare of the period (late 1970's) but even it can't distract from songs like "Strange Affair," "Layla" (no, not a cover of the Clapton song) and the glorious title track which alone is worth the price of admission."
An overlooked gem in the Thompsons' catalog
Lauren | Buffalo, NY USA | 01/07/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's inconceivable to me that any Richard and Linda fan could conceive of this as a weak link in their output. There's a somewhat more mainstream production to this, but IMHO it adds rather than detracts from the beauty of the best songs. These songs don't really call for instrumental flash, and the lighter production makes this album an good starting point for those new to the Thompsons' music. And sure, it's not Bright Lights or Shoot Out the Lights, but it's easily the equal of Pour Down Like Silver, another perennial fan favorite. I must agree with others who say that this is mainly Linda's album. Richard's songs, with the exception of "House of Cards" and maybe "Restless Highway" just aren't up to his usual high standard. Perhaps the near-LA-style production just doesn't fit with his delivery. I'd suggest instead that the mix only highlights the unevenness of Richard's songs. Richard's "Layla" is the sort of rote rocker that you don't expect to find on a Thompsons album, and "Don't Let a Thief Steal Into Your Heart" is dated and dull. Linda's tracks, though, more than compensate. "Sweet Surrender" and especially the stunning "First Light" are gorgeous, plainspoken - but never preachy - affirmations of the Thompsons' Sufi faith. And "Died for Love" and "Pavanne" are stories as haunting as "Down Where the Drunkards Roll" from Bright Lights. Five stars for Linda's work, then, and three for Richard's...let's split the difference and call it four stars. If you have any interest in the Thompsons or in seventies folk rock, this CD is well worth searching out despite a couple of weaker cuts. First Light certainly trumps most any folk rock album produced since its release in 1978."