Richard and Linda Thompson – Down Where The Drunkards Roll

• “Down Where the Drunkards Roll” set to a picture slideshow of Richard and Linda. Thanks to Francesca Annie Valentini.

9.3 “Classic Folk from England”

From their album “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight” (Island Records ILPS-9266) released in 1974.

Since leaving Fairport Convention on a hunch that he could forge a solo career as a songwriter and performer, Richard had released one album, “Henry The Human Fly” in April ‘72. From the Fairport circle, Linda Peters sang on two of the tracks on that LP; the chemistry was right between them professionally and personally and they were married in October of that year. “I Want To See The Bright Lights” was the next chapter, recorded in May ’73 but reportedly held back for release until April ’74 on account of the petrol shortage of the time which had impacted upon the vinyl pressing plants. Pleasingly, marriage hasn’t turned their shtick to yuck, in fact, it’s a dark and moody affair; whilst they may still be young they have seen their share of life’s ups and downs already.

Closing side 1 is the classic “Down Where the Drunkards Roll”, a gorgeous ballad about fading dreams and broken dreamers: “You can be a gambler, who never drew a hand, You can be a sailor, who never left dry land, You can be Lord Jesus, all the world will understand, Down where the drunkards roll.” Here, Linda’s lonesome vocal is offset against another old pal from Fairport, Mike Lucas, who lends a stupendous bass vocal, ensuring a most effective contrast.

You can read my full review for this and all of my Top 30 albums of 1974 here.

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