Read Shoot Out the Lights by Hayden Childs Online


In the fall of 1980 Richard and Linda Thompson (of Fairport Convention fame) had recently been dumped from their record label and were on the verge of divorce. Somehow they overcame these miserable circumstances and managed to make an album considered by many to be a masterpiece."Shoot Out The Lights" puts the album from the personal history driving the songs, to the recorIn the fall of 1980 Richard and Linda Thompson (of Fairport Convention fame) had recently been dumped from their record label and were on the verge of divorce. Somehow they overcame these miserable circumstances and managed to make an album considered by many to be a masterpiece."Shoot Out The Lights" puts the album from the personal history driving the songs, to the recording difficulties they encountered and the subsequent fall-out in context. This is a brilliant, emotional book about a brilliant, emotional album."...

Title : Shoot Out the Lights
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780826427915
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 116 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Shoot Out the Lights Reviews

  • Paul Bryant
    2019-05-13 16:51

    Nice to see someone - anyone - taking notice of Richard Thompson, who's one of those best kept secrets of modern music that critics love and no one else has heard of blah blah blah Lord how many times has that been written in the last 35 years? Richard began life as a 17 year old folk rocker in Fairport Convention (he's the long haired git on the right) he married Linda Thompson and they became Sufis he divorced her hand his hair fell out and he wore a beret to cover up his slaphead was not a wise career move, but it also was unwise not to be handsome in the first place. No matter how many great songs you write, how heartrendingly you pluck upon the acoustical guitar or how bunnyboilingly you play upon your electric guitar, the public will turn away in droves if you're not handsome AND you dare to be bald. Just ask Van Morrison. Hmmm - well, he must be the exception that proves the rule. Anyway, see for yourself, Richard's utterly great - here's A Heart Needs a Home by Richard and Linda when they were in their British Muslim phase"I came to you when no one could hear meI'm sick and weary of being aloneEmpty streets and hungry facesThe world's no place when you're on your ownA heart needs a home"and now Beeswing by Richard solo'Brown hair zig-zag around her face and a look of half-surpriseLike a fox caught in the headlights, there was animal in her eyesShe said "Young man, oh can't you see I'm not the factory kindIf you don't take me out of here I'll surely lose my mind"'and some electric guitar too (with 1980s ridiculous collar) what's the conclusion? Richard Thompson bestrides the earth like a god, but this book... not so much. Still, I'm glad it's there. Although Shoot out the Lights isn't really that great an album - I'd start with Hand of Kindness or Pour Down Like Silver. All we are saying is give Richard a chance. He's been bald too long!

  • Richard
    2019-05-10 18:44

    I HATE these 33&1/3 books when they try to use the fiction gimmick. Even more annoying in the case of this book, there are several sophomoric appendices and not one citation to anything else anyone has written about the Thompsons. Even though I agree with most of Child's musical judgments--they are utterly subjective. _Shoot Out the Lights_ truly is a masterpiece and it deserves better a better guide to the underworld than Childs's community college Virgil.

  • Emily Childs
    2019-05-14 15:30

    Disclaimer. I was one of the early readers for the author. I assume he chose me for a number of reasons. One of them is that I'm his wife, but one of them was also that I am not a music geeek and I am not a typical 33 & 1/3 reader. The fictional device and Virgil Schlage's story pulled me along, and the Dante allegory added interest and complexity, to an already interesting journey into the lives of Richard and Linda Thompson at the time of the recording and touring for this album. When I discovered this album more than a decade ago I found it to be beautiful and haunting, and that was enough for me. Now that I've read the book I feel as though I have a deeper undestanding of both the lyrics and the emotional place from which Richard Thompson's lyrics and Linda Thompson's vocalizations sprang.

  • Christopher
    2019-05-05 12:49

    What do you look for in rock criticism? Do you want Lester Bangs style autobiography? Do you want a minute explanation of the sounds you're hearing by a musical know-how? Or a scene know-how? Or an anthropological musical know-how? Do you want something that improbably ties the sound of an electric guitar to a Great Works of literature? Do you want gratuitous but wholly righteous swipes at Eric Clapton?Whatever it is, Hayden Childs has thrown everything into this book, and it all completely WORKS. It helps that he has excellent source material: if all of us halfway-decent writers and musicians could play the way we wanted to, we'd play like Richard Thompson. The man wrote "Meet on the Ledge" when he was seventeen. (When I was seventeen I was hard at work on a ditty called "The Gillian Anderson Testosterone Brigade." Its chords were E5 to G5 and back to E5. The rhythm was similar to "Thunderkiss 65." I wish I was kidding about any of this.) He only got better, and Shoot Out the Lights (with his wife Linda) is his masterpiece. It was also an honest, unsparing, often CRUEL album about souring love, hellish carnivals, murderers in the dark, and the friendly reminder that if your storm-swept boat is rocking you could always find peace and stillness at the bottom of the ocean.As if that wasn't enough: there was an aborted first pass at the album; the Thompsons would divorce immediately after the record was released; the record became an unexpected hit in the US, which resulted in a fraught tour by the divorcing couple (Linda, left for another woman, famously threw water bottles at Richard on stage, and kicked him in his ass once). You could say there's a book there. But it's also well-covered ground, and rehashing history is no satisfying book.It is also plainly beneath the talents of Childs. The book is a mini-novel of sorts, as it details a cross country trip taken by an alcoholic literature professor named Virgil so that he may pick up the body of his estranged ex-wife. Virgil thinks Shoot Out the Lights mirrors Dante's inferno; so does his trip to New York match the poets vision of hell, complete with a god damn hurricane. Virgil is obsessed with Thompson's music because he feels his life is the inferior copy of the more famous guitarist. Along the way there are digressions into Sufi mysticism, the twin towers tightrope walker, a murder attempt, AA meetings, Dante's enemies sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with the true monsters of history among the inferno's damned, and an interesting-sounding book entitled Mediated.This is a recipe for disaster. But Childs knows what he's talking about: whether it's how Thompson gets his guitar to "quack" just so or the devils gnawing at the souls in the Divine Comedy, he's informed, informative, and engaging. More to the point, he knows what he's doing: what seems like a throwaway point about the WTC tightrope walker and its inevitable turn to 9/11 turns into an excellent image, borrowed from Thompson, of Phillipe Petit still on his tightrope, "taut in the suddenly empty air, strung now from cloud to rising dust cloud." The author lauds Thompson's musical vision, which draws on dozens of musical traditions and seamlessly blends them into a rock context that is still unique, powerful, and completely accessible. I think Childs has done something similar in his writing, here. He takes elements of high minded cultural criticism, dry musical theory, even dryer literary historicism, and finally some rip-roaring THISISMYFUCKINGLIFEMAAAAN prose and comes out with something readable and brilliant. And all of it in the service of the main idea: that this album is the best, and it's worth plopping the $15 down to reinforce it. Only Dennis Wilson and John Darnielle have done better in this series. Bravo.

  • Kevin Summers
    2019-04-26 12:52

    Overall, this book was disappointing. The music criticism in this book was decent, but the fiction aspect of the story was not good.Sample quote: "Bonny didn't die the night I went to murder her, but twenty-five years later she did. Sandy Denny didn't die the night she fell down the stairs, but a month later. After the fall, it doesn't matter whether you fell on your own or if there was a hand there to push you. What matters is who you touched along the way, and how fast they'll come running when you need them."Blech.

  • John
    2019-05-14 16:31

    Interesting, but the thread where the author pretends to be a failed musician going through his own version of Dante's Inferno in some sort of strange parallel with Richard Thompson's deteriorating relationship with his wife, Linda, during the recording and release of this album, is unnecessary, if not distracting. Better to miss your contracted page count than to burden an otherwise compelling narrative with this detour.

  • Nathan
    2019-05-02 13:27

    I wasn't really convinced by the narrator in this book. Sure, I could see the tie-in to Dante, but I wanted the narrator to be more believable, to have a bit more of a relationship with the album itself, rather than just an afterthought. Still, this book wins alone for its appendices.

  • Leonard Pierce
    2019-05-11 16:28

    Hayden autographed my copy of this, so he gets five stars. See how easy this is, people?

  • Dave
    2019-05-15 17:38

    Interesting when he's doing a close analysis of Richard and Linda Thompson's music. Not as much so with the fictional parts and some literary pretensions.

  • Robbie Bashore
    2019-05-22 18:52

    My husband might enjoy this. He's a big Richard Thompson fan. We saw him in a nice intimate club in Pittsburgh a few years ago, and it was great.

  • Hayden
    2019-05-11 10:29

    I wrote this! The description is inaccurate, though.33 1/3 blog has an excerpt available online.

  • Joe Faust
    2019-05-19 12:53

    Half autobiographical novel (?) and half term paper paralleling the album with the circles in Dante’s Inferno, this isn’t the best of the 33 1/3 series – but it’s not the worst, either.

  • Don
    2019-04-26 13:34

    These little books are supposed to be about the record. Way too much of this one is about the author.