Music News 3/25/2021




Richard Thompson—singer, songwriter, and a masterful electric and acoustic guitarist—has written a memoir about his early days at the birth of the British folk-rock movement with Fairport Convention, and the beginning of his solo career with Linda Thompson. 

BEESWING: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice, 1967 – 1975 (Algonquin, $27.95) has wonderful stories of the teenaged Thompson’s immersion in music, the thriving British folk circuit, “finding a voice” on guitar and songwriting, and his joining a Sufi community, and journey to Mecca. There are also fine portraits of Richard’s collaborators including singer Sandy Denny and producer Joe Boyd.  

SPECIAL NOTE: Algonquin sent P&P a few signed Richard Thompson books.  

Call the store to order (202-364-1919). 

I highly recommend two insightful releases which pair well with Richard’s book (there are many, many more—please write for special orders): 

Fairport Convention, HEYDAY: BBC RADIO SESSIONS 1968 – 1969 (Island UK, $12.99) – The “classic” lineup of Fairport at their finest on John Peel’s BBC shows with great performances by Sandy Denny and Iain Matthews on vocals, and Richard, Ashley Hutchings, Simon Nicol and Martin Lamble. A mix of originals, and songs by early influences Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Johnny Cash, and Gene Clark. 

Richard & Linda Thompson, IN CONCERT, NOVEMBER 1975 (Universal UK, $12.99) – Richard and Linda released six albums together between 1974 and 1982, featuring some of Richard’s best writing, and Linda’s heartfelt vocals. And their concerts were special; this one from their second UK tour features an all-star group with John Kirkpatrick, accordion, Dave Pegg, bass, and Dave Mattacks, drums. Songs include “Heart Needs a Home,” “Streets of Paradise,” “Hokey Pokey,” “Calvary Cross” and “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight,” plus a Morris dance medley, and songs by Hank Williams, Buck Owens, and Jerry Lee Lewis. 



The bebop and post-bop pianist Freddie Redd died last week. Before he re-located to New York, Freddie Redd spent a few years in the Baltimore and DC area.  

Butch Warren, noted bassist, was DC-born, and continued play here regularly; he died in Silver Spring in 2013. 

Both gentleman were on iconic jazz albums, often on the Blue Note label. 

DC tenor player Brad Linde sought out both masters for gigs, and made two recordings with both over a single weekend in January, 2013. Now both recordings have been released on Mr. Linde’s label. 

Freddie Redd, REMINISCING (Bleebop, $15.00) features Mr. Redd, Mr. Linde, and a great rhythm section of Michael Formanek on bass, and Matt Wilson on drums. There are also guest saxophonists Sarah Hughes and Brian Settles on selected cuts, and the album features all Freddie Redd compositions. 

Butch Warren & Freddie Redd, BALTIMORE JAZZ LOFT (Bleebop, $15.00) 

I’ll write about Brad’s two other new releases next week. 

Read Michael J. West’s article about the Freddie Redd and Butch Warren releases in the City Paper.  



The DC-based The Last Episode: Veterans for Social Justice (VFSJ) have released three albums tied into recent political events: Obama TimeCome On Hillary, and Gotta Vote. Executive producer Fred Outten brings real rhythm and blues and classic soul sounds to all the projects. 

The Last Episode: Veterans for Social Justice’s latest is an extended play, HAS ANYBODY SEEN KATHERINE JOHNSON (Outten, $15.98), highlighting the life of the now recognized NASA mathematician featured in the book and movie, Hidden Figures. The album features versions of the song, plus a 3-part interview Mr. Outten on the making of the project.