A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
The biggest problems with this record would be obvious to even the casual listener: gritty, spitty vocals; lack of richness; lack of bass; no real space or transparency, etc. etc.
When we came across this copy we knew we had something special as it had very few of the problems above.
The Carthage pressings did not do well in our shootout, no surprise as these early Island records were mastered at one of our favorite cutting houses here in the Southland.
Streets of Paradise
For Shame of Doing Wrong
The Poor Boy Is Taken Away
Night Comes In
Jet Plane in a Rocking Chair
Beat the Retreat
Hard Luck Stories
Dimming of the Day
Pour Down Like Silver is downbeat even by Richard Thompson’s less than joyful standards, but it also features some of his most beautiful and compelling songs — the ravaged plea for salvation of “Streets of Paradise,” the mysterious and mesmerizing “Night Comes In,” the mournful romantic meditations “Beat the Retreat” and “For Shame of Doing Wrong,” and the spare but heartfelt love song “Dimming of the Day.” …those brave enough to look past its dark surface will find a startlingly beautiful album; it’s not an easy album to listen to, but it greatly rewards the effort.
The electric guitar is prominent indeed on the third Richard and Linda album. More so because of the more sparse arrangements and production that distinguish this album from its more lush sounding predecessor. Subsequently Thompson disclosed that this stark and simple production was more by accident than design. “It was a stark record, but I think it was by accident in a sense – we were intending to have Simon [Nicol] come and play rhythm guitar but he wasn’t available so everything ended up sounding very stark and I was always going to overdub rhythm guitar and stuff, but we thought we’ll just leave it, what the hell.”
Thompson may perhaps be regarded as being a little too off-hand here. In fact he overdubbed mandolin, keyboard and multiple guitar parts on some tracks, and session musicians were also called in. Another noticeable instrumental element of the album is the accordion of John Kirkpatrick which is prominent both on this album and during the Thompsons’ live shows in 1975.
The understated and elegant Dimming of the Day was sung by Linda Thompson on this album, but Richard Thompson has continued to feature it in his own live shows for many years – an indication of its deep personal significance. This song is an example of Thompson writing in a centuries old Sufic tradition of expressing divine love in earthly terms. On the album Dimming of the Day segues into a solo guitar performance of Scots composer James Scott Skinner’s Dargai that perfectly matches the mood of the song and serves to bring the album to a contemplative conclusion.
Night Comes In is another song of profound personal significance and recounts Richard Thompson’s formal initiation into the Sufi faith. The song is also notable for several prominent passages of electric guitar playing notable for their lyrical intensity – especially the closing, multi-tracked solo.
Hard Luck Stories is the most musically upbeat song on the album, with sardonic lyrics and a typically incisive guitar solo.
After this album and the following short tour Richard and Linda Thompson took a sabbatical from recording, writing and performing music.