Sunday, April 5th, 2009
Bob Mould covers Richard Thompson
Amazon.comBack in the early/mid-90s, tribute albums were all the rage. Compilations of covers to every artist, big or small, who’d ever influenced enough artists to compile a tribute album were all the rage. And naturally, I bought more than my share of them. Most didn’t end up being especially noteworthy, but one of the less-heralded ones, Beat The Retreat, was really quite superb and the fact that it was by and large ignored seems sadly fitting, as the recipient of the tribute – Richard Thompson – has spent his entire 40-year career not getting the attention he deserves.
But if the virtuoso songwriter/guitarist never got the popular acclaim that his ungodly talents should have, he at least could be proud of the talents he inspired. The acts on the tribute record ranged from X, R.E.M. and Dinosaur Jr on the electrified of the spectrum to the Blind Boys Of Alabama, Los Lobos and Loudon Wainwright III on the folky.
One highlight for me came from Bob Mould, who took Thompson’s paean to a prostitute whose best years are behind her and made it absolutely roar – not many people can even attempt to recreate the eccentric brilliance of Thompson’s soloing when he’s in full flight but damn if Mould doesn’t come close. It remains one of my favourite Mould recordings.
Mould’s new album Life And Times, which is finally a fully plugged in, vocoder-less electric guitar record, is out April 7 and there’s interviews with him at Southern Voice and Metro Weekly. Richard Thompson will be the subject of a four-disc box set entitled Walking On A Wire: Richard Thompson (1968-2009), due out June 30. Details on that at Blurt.
MP3: Bob Mould – “Turning Of The Tide”
Video: Richard Thompson – “Turning Of The Tide” (live)