Sunday, September 4th, 2011
"Wall Of Death"
R.E.M. covers Richard Thompson
MusicstackWhen Richard Thompson is discussed, it’s usually in the context of being grossly unknown or underappreciated relative to what the folk-rock pioneer has achieved in his forty-plus year career. He did get a bit of his due with 1994’s high-powered tribute album Beat The Retreat, which featured such wide-ranging acts as X, Shawn Colvin, Bonnie Raitt, J Mascis and R.E.M..
Though at the time the Athens, Georgia quartet were neck-deep in re-establishing their rock’n’roll credentials via Monster, they opted to dial back to a distinctly Out Of Time acoustic style for their bright and strummy take on the closing track from Thompson’s arguably most famous record (with then-wife Linda Thompson) Shoot Out The Lights. And if you’re wondering what the Wall Of Death is – as I did for a long time – Wikipedia has the answer; it’s a carnival attraction wherein a motorcyclist rides horizontally and performs stunts on the inside of a large wooden drum. Let it never be said you never learned anything here.
R.E.M. released their fifteenth studio album in Collapse Into Now earlier this year. Thompson’s last album of original material Dream Attic was released last year but can’t rightly be called a studio album – it was recorded live on tour. Thompson will be in Toronto for a solo show at Koerner Hall at the Royal Conservatory of Music this Thursday evening. The Hartford Courant has an interview with the man, who was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire earlier this year – okay, maybe he is getting some respect.