I’ve seen Richard Thompson on a number of occasions over the years, and as loud as my stereo will play, which is pretty darn loud, I’ve never been able to make his guitar solos 20 dB louder than everything else, because they’re simply not on the record that way. That’s why live music can’t be reproduced faithfully in the home: the dynamic contrasts are much too great for the typical listener, or his stereo.
Having said that, when you actually do turn this record up, way up, you get the feeling of hearing live music, and that’s not easy to do. Only the best recordings, in my experience, can begin to give you that feeling. (And of course it helps to have big dynamic drivers.)
On the best copies the sound is very dynamic, the soundstage HUGE. The overall presentation in terms of size and weight just makes you want to turn your stereo up as loud as it will go. In that sense, it has some of the qualities of “live” music, because live music is loud.
Yes, it’s yet another recording that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.
Our Recent Hot Stamper Commentary
This White Hot Stamper R&L Thompson record is without a doubt the best record they ever made, even the best record he ever made, but it also holds one other important distinction, one of great interest to us audiophiles : it’s the BEST SOUNDING record he ever made as well.
This is truly a Demo Disc of epic proportions. The guitars are huge and positively leap out of the speakers on the title cut. There is so much kick to the drums on every track, with deep punchy bass augmenting them. It’s no exaggeration to say that this record will put to shame 99% of all the rock records you have ever heard.
For those of you who are not familiar with the album, not only is it Richard & Linda Thompson”s masterpiece, something the critics recognized at the time I’m happy to report. It was in fact the Rolling Stone Album of the Year for 1982. Top of the heap, number one, THE best, an honor rarely bestowed nowadays on anything that I would want to listen to.
Wikipedia on Shoot Out the Lights
Shoot Out the Lights is the sixth and final album by British husband-and-wife folk rock duo Richard and Linda Thompson. It was produced by Joe Boyd and released in 1982 on his Hannibal label. A critically acclaimed work, Allmusic’s Mark Deming noted that Shoot Out the Lights has “often been cited as Richard Thompson’s greatest work, and it’s difficult for anyone who has heard his body of work to argue the point.”
For a release on an independent label, Shoot Out the Lights had a significant critical impact. Robert Christgau made it a pick hit saying “these are powerfully double-edged metaphors for the marriage struggle”. At the end of 1982, many critics placed the album on their year-end “best of” lists, for example, placing it at #2 on the Village Voice Jazz & Pop Critics Poll. It has continued to be highly regarded.
Allmusic praises it as “a meditation on love and loss in which beauty, passion, and heady joy can still be found in defeat”. And the Rolling Stone Album Guide called the album “absolutely perfect” and cited it for its “vividly emotional writing and the stirringly impassioned playing.”
In 1987, Shoot Out the Lights was ranked #24 on Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Best Albums of the Last Twenty Years” and in 1989 it was ranked #9 on Rolling Stone’s list of the The 100 Best Albums of the Eighties.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 333 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In March 2005, Q magazine placed the title song at number 99 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.