Thursday, November 29, 2012

Great Love Songs (38)

Some years ago, I stumbled upon in a DVD store here in Beijing The Best of The Old Grey Whistle Test, Volume 3.

I never got around to watching it. Partly, I think, I was distracted by my vexation at never being able to find any of the other volumes of the series. But mostly I was a little afraid of the tsunami of nostalgia that it might unleash in me - I was waiting for a 'special occasion' to revisit this highlight of my 1970s childhood, one of the best TV music shows ever (I've mentioned it on here before; it used to be on BBC2 on Sunday nights, after M.A.S.H.), and to wallow in the melancholy that this was likely to induce.

I finally found such an occasion a couple of months ago - and the selection did not disappoint. Well, there was a noticeable falling off in the standard of the last few entries from the 1980s (although it was nice to see the great comedy band Half Man, Half Biscuit included, with their warped childhood anecdote All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit), but the 1970s stuff was pure gold.

And in amongst this consistently high quality (Steppenwolf, Humble Pie, Supertramp, David Bowie, Jackson Browne, Stealers Wheel, Freddie King, B.B. King, Janis Ian, Joe Jackson, The Jam - gobsmackingly good stuff), the absolute standout - a shivers-down-the-spine revelation for me - was this acoustic performance of the exquisite love song, A Heart Needs A Home

Richard and Linda Thompson, I now learn, have been giants of the English folk scene for over 40 years - but they had completely passed me by. I am belatedly quite smitten with Linda; not only does she have a compelling voice, but she is here just radiantly beautiful too (the hippie headscarf notwithstanding). This performance (introduced by the notorious 'Whispering' Bob Harris, an inspiration for John Thomson's Louis Balfour character, the low-talking host of the Jazz Club segment in The Fast Show) is from early in 1975 - a year or two before I started getting into the show, I suppose.


Gary said...

Wow, thanks for this. Got to check out some more of these Thompsons, that is a spellbinding performance.

This post just sucked me in for nearly half an hour. Jazz Club is awesome too!

"What are you going to play for us today?"


"And what tune?"

"Tune?! This is JAZZ!"


Froog said...

Glad you liked it, Gary.

If you spent half an hour on this post, how long do you think I spent? Oh, Youtube - it sucks you in!

Did you check out the Half Man, Half Biscuit as well? Perhaps not so accessible to non-Brits...