Richard Thompson – Mirror Blue (1994/2016) [HDTracks 24-192]

Richard Thompson – Mirror Blue (1994/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 55:20 minutes | 2,23 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © Capitol Records
Recorded: January 1993 at The Sound Factory, Los Angeles and RAK Studios, London

The fourth of five albums Richard Thompson would record in Los Angeles with producer and keyboard player Mitchell Froom, Mirror Blue faced the challenge of following one of Thompson’s biggest critical and commercial successes, 1991’s Rumor and Sigh. Rather than repeat what had worked so well previously, Thompson and especially Froom were more adventurous in the studio, turning off both fans and critics. Still, Guitar World included Mirror Blue on its list of the 50 iconic albums that defined 1994.

“… it was a radical record and a brave record, it was off the back of the records Mitchell had done with Suzanne Vega and Los Lobos and the couple of records (engineer) Tchad Blake had done with Tom Waits. All of which I thought were terrific … they all had a kind of character to them, a sound that was really trying to strip away some clichés, like why have a snare drum, why the backbeat? And just looking at the song and seeing what does the song need, what’s going to work?” –Richard Thompson

1991’s Rumor and Sigh was among Richard Thompson’s best-selling and most warmly received albums, even gaining a bit of radio and MTV exposure which introduced Thompson to a wider audience than ever before. But while Thompson has often expressed his desire to reach a greater number of listeners, he’s (thankfully) unwilling to dumb his music down, and it’s probably no coincidence that he followed up his most user-friendly album with the more difficult Mirror Blue. Mirror Blue was constructed on a more modest scale, with the arrangements scaled down and the mix putting the instruments in greater relief. While Mitchell Froom’s production added both polish and punch to Rumor and Sigh, his work on Mirror Blue marked the point where he began to interfere more than he helped; the tinny, crashing sound he imposes on Thompson’s guitar and Pete Thomas’ drums soon wears out its welcome, and Froom’s washes of retro-styled keyboards are more prominent than they need to be. And while song for song Mirror Blue boasts material just as strong as Rumor and Sigh (if not stronger), the tone is more dour, with the few rockers decidedly less friendly (“Mascara Tears” sounds downright mean) and the ballads more mournful (though “King Of Bohemia” and “Beeswing” are beautiful and affecting if you don’t mind a good cry). But Thompson had a great set of songs here, and he performs them with typical fire and precision; his guitar work is glorious, and his vocals are passionate and unusually well controlled. Mirror Blue suggests that, after making an album with the mass audience in mind, Richard Thompson decided to make one for the fans — and himself — and if Froom’s production sometimes gets in the way, loyalists will find plenty to revel in here. –AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

Tracklist:
1 For The Sake Of Mary 04:22
2 I Can’t Wake Up To Save My Life 03:13
3 MGB-GT 03:36
4 The Way That It Shows 06:13
5 Easy There, Steady Now 04:46
6 King Of Bohemia 03:46
7 Shane And Dixie 04:06
8 Mingus Eyes 04:48
9 I Ride In Your Slipstream 04:07
10 Beeswing 05:34
11 Fast Food 02:44
12 Mascara Tears 03:37
13 Taking My Business Elsewhere 04:28

Personnel:
Richard Thompson – guitar, vocals, mandolin
Mitchell Froom – keyboards
Jerry Scheff – bass guitar, double bass
Pete Thomas – drums, percussion
Christine Collister – backing vocals
Michael Parker – backing vocals
John Kirkpatrick – accordion, concertinas
Danny Thompson – double bass on “Easy There, Steady Now”
Alistair Anderson – concertina, Northumbrian pipes
Tom McConville – fiddle
Martin Dunn – flute
Philip Pickett – shawms

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