AUK’s Chain Gang: Richard Thompson “Beeswing”

For this week’s Chain Gang, we link Christy Moore’s version of ‘Motherland’ to Richard Thompson.  ‘Motherland’ appeared on Moore’s 2006 covers album ‘Burning Times’.  Another song on that outstanding album was ‘Beeswing’, which originally appeared on Thompson’s 1994 recording ‘Mirror Blue’.

At the time of its release, ‘Mirror Blue’ was not as well received of some of Thompson’s previous work and the album, produced by Mitchell Froom of Crowded House, was not an immediate success.  However, over time, the songs have become much-loved and ‘Beeswing’ in particular has become a staple of live shows.  It’s a brilliantly crafted song and Thompson’s delicate and melodic guitar work is truly gorgeous on ‘Beeswing’.  More importantly, it’s a lyrical work of genius.  There’s real poetry in his lines and the finely conceived narrative details: “Oh the last I heard she’s sleeping rough back on the Derby beat // White Horse in her hip pocket and a wolfhound at her feet // And they say she even married once, a man named Romany Brown // But even a gypsy caravan was too much settling down // And they say her flower is faded now, hard weather and hard booze // But maybe that’s just the price you pay for the chains you refuse.”

It’s a real story song, a song of love lost and regret.  The characters are drawn brilliantly and their love for one another feels authentic in Thompson’s carefully chosen words.  But they pay a price when they go their separate ways and are forever affected by their choices.  Such fine songcraft and lyrical poetry is a rare and beautiful thing.  Listen and be absorbed.

About Andrew Frolish 1469 Articles
From up north but now hiding in rural Suffolk. An insomniac music-lover. Love discovering new music to get lost in - country, singer-songwriters, Americana, rock...whatever. Currently enjoying Nils Lofgren, Ferris & Sylvester, Tommy Prine, Jarrod Dickenson, William Prince, Frank Turner, Our Man in the Field...
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