Gifts are meant to be passed on
Gracious acceptance

Tunes for a Monday Morning

Today's Monday Tunes are dedicated to the great British songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson:

Above, Thompson performs one of his earliest songs, "Genesis Hall," for the Songwriters Circle in 2010. (That's Suzanne Vega and Loudon Wainright III on the stage with him.) He first recorded the song when he was a member of Fairport Convention back in the 1960s, with vocals sung by the late Sandy Denny. (You can hear the Fairport version here.) As homelessness grows by leaps and bounds under our current government here in the UK, this 44-year-old song seems remarkably contemporary.

Below, Thompson performs his song "Down Where the Drunkards Roll," with backing from Vega and Wainright. Thompson first recorded the song with his ex-wife Linda Thompson on their album I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (1974). You can hear that version here.

Above, the young Irish singer Luke Murray performs Thompson's "Beeswing" at a session on on the island of Inishbofin (Connemara, Co. Galway) in 2011. For Thompson's version, go here.

Below, the smokey-voiced Aoife O'Donovan, from Boston's Crooked Still, performs an unusually gentle version of Thompson's "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" at the Mercury Lounge in New York City, 2013.  For Thompson's version, go here. (And for a quirky little bluegrass version by the Rumpke Mountain Boys, go here.)


Above, the American bluegrass singer Alison Krauss performs Thompson's "The Dimming of the Day" for the TransAtlantic Sessions, 2011. It's also been covered by Bonnie Rait, David Gilmour, and many others.

Below, Thompson's own version of the song, backed up by Irish singers Dolores Keane and Mary Black in a recording from 1990. It's simply gorgeous.

Bonus track: I've loved Thompson's poetic and melancholy song "Devonside" since it was first recorded in 1983, and I love it even more now that I live in Devon. Alas, I can't find a good video performance of the song, but if you care to listen to it, you'll find it here.