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Published: 2010/12/13
by Ron Hart

Richard And Linda Thompson
Shoot Out the Lights: Deluxe Edition

Rhino Handmade

From the pain conveyed on such works as Marvin Gaye’s Here My Dear, Bruce Springsteen’s Tunnel of Love and Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreak, expressing the torment over the dissolution of a romantic relationship is no easy feat. So how hard do you think it is to iterate such inner confessions regarding a scorned lover when said ex is in the recording booth right next to you? Such a conundrum was present for English folk-rock royalty Richard and Linda Thompson upon the release of their final and what many consider to be their greatest album as a couple—1982’s Shoot Out The Lights.

Produced by the duo’s longtime cohort and British rock impresario Joe Boyd, the original eight-track LP—which features some of the most brutal, caustic guitar playing of Mr. Thompson’s career—might contain songs that were written two years before their marriage began to truly crumble. However, the tales of hurt, regret and interpersonal strife displayed on songs like “Walking on a Wire,” “Just the Motion” and the fantastic “Wall of Death” foreshadowed the state of things to come for the Thompsons all too exactingly—and by the time the Thompsons actually began laying down these tracks, the damage was, sadly enough, already done.

This Rhino Handmade edition might have omitted the rare b-side “Living in Luxury” that served as the sole bonus track on the reissue delivered by Boyd’s Hannibal imprint in 1991. However, the trade off is a bonus disc containing an 11-track live document of the Thompsons’ tumultuous U.S. tour in support of Shoot, which features scorching renditions of such key album cuts as the epic title track and the sardonic “Did She Jump or Was She Pushed?” as well as quirky covers of Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Keep It With Mine,” Hank Williams’ “Honky Tonk Blues” and “I’m A Dreamer” from Richard’s former Fairport Convention bandmate Sandy Denny. And when combined with the beautiful hardbound book style packaging and 40-page booklet containing informative liner notes and never-before-seen photos, you have the only version of this landmark rock staple worth owning.

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