By the time Amnesia was recorded in 1988, it seemed Richard Thompson had recovered from the break-up of his marriage to long-time musical partner Linda Thompson--or maybe, as the title implies, he simply buried and forgot ... more »the pain. Rather than creating an album of love-gone-bad tunes (as on 1983's lovely Hand of Kindness), Thompson broke out of the gloom and wrote songs with fresh energy and strength. An aggressive voice takes over where once a weaker man may have spoken ("Turning of the Tide," "Waltzing's for Dreamers"). Moving from personal relationships to the state of the world, Thompson targets TV evangelism and American imperialism with caustic wit and guitars that sting. Produced by Mitchell Froom, this collection is one of the best of their many collaborative efforts. --Lorry Fleming« less
By the time Amnesia was recorded in 1988, it seemed Richard Thompson had recovered from the break-up of his marriage to long-time musical partner Linda Thompson--or maybe, as the title implies, he simply buried and forgot the pain. Rather than creating an album of love-gone-bad tunes (as on 1983's lovely Hand of Kindness), Thompson broke out of the gloom and wrote songs with fresh energy and strength. An aggressive voice takes over where once a weaker man may have spoken ("Turning of the Tide," "Waltzing's for Dreamers"). Moving from personal relationships to the state of the world, Thompson targets TV evangelism and American imperialism with caustic wit and guitars that sting. Produced by Mitchell Froom, this collection is one of the best of their many collaborative efforts. --Lorry Fleming
John S. from OAKVILLE, CT Reviewed on 10/1/2010...
Thompson released a string of albums that, to me, defied a near-epidemic of the 1980s . . . Simply put, a lot of vapid, castrated musical drivel oozed from the pop-culture sore that was the infamous decade in question. Richard Thompson is one of the few artists who did not bend to the pressures of synthesizers, ridiculous fashion gimmicks and bland if not idiotic writing that defined most musical acts of that time. "Amnesia" is another wholly satisfying, literate and skillfully composed album by one of the most creative, talented and consistent artists still working today. The album, as always, is varied and extremely well-rounded; and stand-out tracks include GYPSY LOVE SONGS, JERUSALEM ON THE JUKEBOX, DON'T TEMPT ME and YANKEE GO HOME. If you like this era in Thompson's work, look for "Shoot Out The Lights, Hand Of Kindness, Across A Crowded Room & Daring Adventures," if you haven't already.
Incapable of anything except artistic excellence
dev1 | Baltimore | 05/29/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If Richard Thompson releases a mediocre album, I want someone to tell me immediately because I believe that he's incapable of anything except artistic excellence. Amnesia includes some of Thompson's most moving and breathtaking compositions to date. `Gypsy Love Songs' is a rocker to end any argument that Thompson is among the finest composers and guitarist ever. It's angry, brooding, haunting and thunderous. Mickey Curry bludgeons the drum kit (on par with the great Jim Keltner) like a pile driver, Thompson's guitar solos are sterling, and Jerry Scheff's bass lines could shake granite. Either Jim Keltner or Mickey Curry on drums, and Tony Levin on base lay down a bulletproof rhythm on the other rockers (Jerusalem On The Jukebox, Don't Tempt Me), while Thompson interjects improvising and mesmerizing guitar lines. `Yankee Go Home' is an uplifting cheerful ride except for Thompson's lyrics - yes, he's angry.The antithesis to Thompson's electric rockers and customarily cynical lyrics is the light and acoustic solo `Waltzing's For Dreamers.' Here, pessimism is replaced by longing and loneliness. Christine Collister is the only woman on Amnesia: her backup vocal harmonies amplify rather than contradict Thompson's gruff voice and irate delivery. For Richard and Linda followers, `I Still Dream' is especially poignant. Although the magic of `Shoot Out The Lights' may never happen, Amnesia contains more than a fare share of enchantment.Technical Note: Not mentioned on the accompanying written material, I suspect this is a DDD release. Check the cymbals and top-hat on `I Still Dream' and `Can't Win.'"
Apt title for a long out of print and almost forgotten album
ewomack | MN USA | 09/26/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sadly, most of Richard Thompson's amazing catalogue lies smouldering in the out of print bin. Since the 1970s he has consistently put out great material, but a mass audience never wafted up from the general populace. When Capitol signed Thompson they probably saw mass appeal, hits, and the next big critical and commercial success. In the mid late 1980s music rags announced Capitol's huge marketing campaign designed to haul Thompson from obscurity to stardom. Almost instantaneoulsy, Thompson's face appeared plastered in record stores, in music magazines, and the occasional television appearance. "Amnesia" belongs to this era, and Capitol pulled out plenty, if not all, of the stops to market it. Somehow the album stalled despite the strength of its contents. The 1991 follow-up "Rumor and Sigh" found Capitol getting what it wanted out of Thompson, but some ten years later the label dropped him. Thompson survives on Indie labels, but hopefully some label will put Thompson's considerable Capitol output back into print (calling Rhino!! Rhino!! Are you there!?!?!).
"Amnesia" is in no way Thompson's best album, but it contains some amazing material. "Turning of the Tide" should have been a hit. No good reason exists for its obscurity on the radio waves in 1988. The song holds up as a pop bulwark even today. "Waltzing's For Dreamers" could arguably be placed alongside some of Thompson's best material. A mellow bittersweet song about lost love, one of Thompson's perennial subjects, it almost sounds out of place amongst the pop rock songs that fill most of the album. Thompson waxes controversial on "Yankee, Go Home", including such lines as "Overpaid, oversexed and over here/Get smart, gringo, disappear/The Hun's at the gates of Rome/Yankee Go Home". Subtle it is not. One wonders if Capitol and Thompson exchanged blows over its inclusion on "Amnesia". "Don't Tempt Me" is a humorous (or not so humorous depending on one's point of view) take on bar room machismo. "I Still Dream" and "Reckless Kind" are Thompson staples burgeoning with bad bitter lost love. "Gypsy Love Songs", though a bit overlong, contains some great guitar work.
"Amnesia" doesn't deserve to wallow in never never land. Only two cuts made it onto Capitol's "Action Packed: Best of the Capitol Years" compression of five albums. Fans and the curious must resort to used bins or online auctions to get a copy. This album deserves better."
Thompson's best solo album
Jeff Hubbard | SLC, UTAH | 08/14/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The previous writer said it all remarkably well, so my comments will be brief - in fact, about the only way that I'll differ is to award this album an unqualified five stars - I can't think of another album that Thompson's done that I like any better than this one. In fact, of all of his solo albums, this is the only one that I'd truly put on a par with "I Want to See the Bright Lights" or "Shoot Out the Lights." Again, I could go on at length, but there's really no point. This is a nearly flawless album, and if you have any interest in checking out Thompson's songwriting or guitar playing, you couldn't find a better starting point than this."
Why can't I add half-stars?
Justin Martin | 06/02/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"because this is an amazing three-and-a-half star album, but i'mnot sure it's a four-star. there are a few cuts- "Yankee, GoHome" (which i love musically and find humorous as hell but which has potential to alienate more than a few listeners), "Jerusalem on the Jukebox", which i still get stuck in my head occasionally but which might not have the same stamina four years down the road, "Pharaoh" which is just midtempo drudgery, for the most part... but, having said that, "Turning of the Tide" and "Waltzing's" are worth the price of this disc threefold, especially "Waltzing's". i defy you to find me a finer lost love song written in the last forty years. perhaps "nightswimming". but "waltzing's" in the same closet."
The forgotten Capitol album
Jeff Hubbard | 07/08/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For some reason, this fine album (Richard's first for Capitol records, and second produced by Mitchell Froom) is neglected in favor of "Rumor and Sigh" and others. Tighter and more focused than any of his other albums with Froom, "Amnesia" is a solid, diverse dose of prime RT.The best-known songs (i.e., staples of his live set) are the near-rockabilly "Turning of the Tide" and the ballad "Waltzing's For Dreamers," but they're not even the best things on the album. "Gypsy Love Songs" is a riveting guitar showcase along the lines of "Shoot Out the Lights." The wild "Jerusalem on the Jukebox" is a scathing attack on self-righteous preachers that's almost drowned out by the frantic band (a youthful-sounding Jim Keltner going nuts on drums). "Can't Win" is a classic RT tale of how society turns its young into hopeless drones; it's a perfect companion piece to the much older "End of the Rainbow." "Yankee Go Home" is a deceptively poppy indictment of American intervention in foreign wars that manages to be more bitingly funny than preachy. Why does this album stand out from the ones that followed? The topical songs here (and there are several) are more subtle and sharp than the ones RT wrote later. The music on the album is consistently strong--the arrangements are fuller and sound like a real working band, unlike on "Rumor and Sigh"--plus the songs employ more exotic (Celtic and Mideastern instrumentation) than on later Thompson albums. Richard cuts loose on guitar more often too. That's always a good thing. Fans of "Rumor and Sigh" and "Mirror Blue" who haven't picked this one up yet absolutely need to seek it out. It may be a bit of revelation."