Monday, December 23, 2019

Richard Thompson - Learning the Game - Various Acoustic Songs (1994-1998)

This album only deals with Richard Thompson's acoustic music, from the years 1994 to 1998.

In the past, I've posted all-acoustic versions of Thompson's solo albums whenever I've had enough material to do so. This is kind of like that, except I didn't have enough material. Thompson released the studio album "You? Me? Us?" in 1996, and "Industry" in 1997. Songs four through nine are acoustic versions of "You? Me? Us?" songs, and songs ten through 12 are acoustic versions of "Industry" songs.

That just leaves a few songs. The first two are Buddy Holly covers. The third one, "Don't Let a Thief Steal into Your Heart," was first done on a Richard and Linda Thompson album in 1978. I've included a version here because it's only rarely been done by Richard in an acoustic format. The last one, "She May Call You Up Tonight," is a cover of a Left Banke song.

In terms of sound quality, this album is mostly great. All the songs either come from in-person radio appearances or soundboard concert bootlegs. The only songs that sound somewhat rough are the first two. Although they're from in-person radio appearances, for some reason they sound a bit muddier than the rest.

In my opinion, Thompson had mostly put out excellent albums in the 1980s and early 1990s, but he hit a rough patch with "You? Me? Us?" "Industry" would have been stronger, it has an interesting theme about industrialization, except half of its songs are instrumentals. With this album, you basically get the best songs from both albums, plus a few more.

01 Learning the Game (Richard Thompson)
02 Well... All Right (Richard Thompson with T-Bone Burnett)
03 Don't Let a Thief Steal into You Heart (Richard Thompson)
04 Hide It Away (Richard Thompson)
05 Train Don't Leave (Richard Thompson)
06 Cold Kisses (Richard Thompson)
07 Dark Hand Over My Heart (Richard Thompson)
08 The Ghost of You Walks (Richard Thompson)
09 Razor Dance (Richard Thompson)
10 Drifting through the Days (Richard Thompson)
11 Lotteryland (Richard Thompson)
12 Last Shift (Richard Thompson)
13 She May Call You Up Tonight (Richard Thompson)

For the cover art, I used a photo of Thompson in Belgium in 1995.


  1. You? Me? Us? "Nude Side" would be fascinating, but the live recordings (and there are plenty from his '96 tour) at least show the bones of the songs better.

    Just like '94 and Mirror Blue!

    Happy New Year

    1. Michael Froom did his best to try to ruin several of Thompson's albums with his production, including You Me Us. But, to be honest, I think also the songwriting wasn't as strong, certainly not enough for a double album. I cut it down to a single album for my own listening pleasure.

  2. I omitted the word 'Naked' right after "Nude Side".