Thursday, 5 February 2009

2 February 2009 - Richard Thompson's 1000 Years of Popular Music, Barbican Hall

Another Thompson gig, I know, but what the heck - just glad that January's gig-drought is over. This show was a light-hearted - but expertly delivered - "steamroller ride" over 1000 years of popular music: as the man pointed out, the nobs' music was written down, but the peasants' songs were passed down by word of mouth and had to be darned good to survive. So RT began in the 800s, playing a hurdy-gurdy if you please, going by way of protest songs, such as 'Blackleg Miner', via Cole Porter and Abba, finishing up with those 20th Century favourites The Beatles; not a psychedelic medley a la Neil Young, but some kicking early stuff such as 'I wanna hold your hand' to remind us what a breath of fresh air they were in 1960-something.
Mind you, you have to pay close attention to the chat at a Thompson gig, those witty/caustic asides coming thick and fast, and he whisked us through Latin, French, Middle English and Renaissance Italian "colloquial Renaissance Italian", mind you. Bet you didn't know that Richard I was the John Denver of his day. And yay for James Warren's hit with the Korgis, 'Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime', even if RT doubted that Bath was too nice a place for such creativity - "all those teashops".
Am I fixated on Thompsons? Well, you'd think so if you scrolled down this blog, they're a very talented clan. I think Linda's next on my wish list.

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