309. wall of death

“Yes as a matter of fact, folk music did still matter in the 1980s, certainly in the hands of Richard (and sometimes Linda) Thompson. Because you just can’t argue with a song like Wall of Death, with pushing harder, faster, to the edge and beyond, working your momentum up until gravity’s no longer your master, just a thing to be played with straight up the wall of death (an amusement park thing in Britain, riding a motor vehicle in a circular pit until you get up enough momentum to defy gravity, pull stunts, get the crowd to roaring). Gravity will win in the end, of course, but that’s life, isn’t it?  Not defined by where you end up, but all the crazy beautiful moves you pulled en route and the places they got you.” (Philip Random)

Richard+LindaThompson-1983

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872. bird town

With Pere Ubu on hiatus for a while in the 1980s, main man David Thomas had plenty of room to move. And move he did through all manner of possibilities with 1983’s Variations on a Theme featuring a genuinely strong backing band, including the likes of trad-folkie Richard Thompson whose superb guitar stylings were exactly what was required for this strange and easy little ditty about a town where folks wander around with ducks on their heads.

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