John Stodder | livin' just enough | 09/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is a fine one overall, but it is worth getting primarily so you can listen to the classic "Al Bowlly's in Heaven." A raging protest, an evocative history lesson, a haunting melody, a late-night foxtrot...this is simply one of the greatest songs ever written and performed by a guitar slinger. Thompson's dolorous singing style fits it perfectly. This song should be taught in poetry classes.
The Thompson fan base looks at this as one of Richard's periodic attempts to "go commercial." Perhaps so. "Valerie" is the kind of fast-rocking song I would like to hear on the radio but never do. Whatever the sales strategy of this album was, "Al Bowlly..." makes this a timeless disk.
(There's another great version of this song, by the way, on the three-disc "Watching the Dark" set. It's live, and also wonderful.)"
Al Bowlly's in heaven listening to this...
ewomack | MN USA | 11/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Thompson's 1986 album "Daring Adventures" fits well into his output from the 1980's. Not only that, it has remained in print unlike most of his Capitol albums. It's not hard to see why. The driving Celtic-rockabilly song "Valerie" stands out here. Why wasn't it a hit? Who knows? "A Bone Through Her Nose" sounds a bit trite at first, but its hooks have this tendency to surprinsingly clamp onto neurons. The same rings true of the rollicking "Baby Talk". "Lovers Lane" is a haunting song about one of Thompson's favorite subjects: love gone bad. It wails and mourns about deception, co-dependency and their inevitable results. Lost innocence and youth pervade "How Will I Ever be Simple Again" as an observer tries to understand how a girl in a war torn area can maintain her childlike simplicity. "Al Bowlly's In Heaven" swings with a jazzy style rare for Thompson. Sung from the point of view of a disgruntled post-war soldier, it epitomizes the album's theme of loss and grief. A great album closer.
"Daring Adventures" contains more of Thompson's folky side than subsequent albums. Just listen to the amazing fiddle break on "Valerie", or the introduction to "Missie How You Let Me Down". Fiddles, recorders, accordians, dulcimers, and other instruments not typically associated with rock are everywhere. Capitol "folked him down" throughout the nineties with few exceptions (probably looking for big hits). The roots of that sound blare from this album, but don't yet dominate. Perhaps Mitchell Froom (who produced this album as well as most of Thompson's Capitol output) moved Thompson in that direction.
As great as Thompson's albums are, the hooks do not usually stick at first listen. This may explain why the big time has evaded him for so many years. Usually a Thompson album has to sink in. But once it does, there's no going back. "Daring Adventures" presents a very salient example of this phenomenon. Everyone should give this album at least three listens before abandoning it. At first listen it may sound like typical fare, but by the third its wonderfulness blossoms."
Star Thrower | 04/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first album in a series of Mitchell Froom productions whose participation was to become heavy handed on Richard's early 90s releases. This is a well balanced cohesive collection of finely crafted songs with great arrangements. Thompson's lyrics are as witty as ever, and most of the songs have memorable melodies. I don't know what album the gentleman from India was listening to? To say this is one of Thompson's worst albums is absurd. I've always found myself singing along with these great songs like Dead Man's Handle, Valerie, and Missy How You Let Me Down. The guitar work is fantastic as most listeners have come to expect from Richard Thompson. His vocals are very strong as well. Much stronger than his 70s work. This is Richard Thompson in full bloom. Enjoy!"