Exposé Online banner

Richard Thompson — 1000 Years of Popular Music
(Beeswing BSW-003, 2003, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2004-04-01

1000 Years of Popular Music Cover artWhen the end of the millennium started creeping up, lots of people started making lists. When it comes to the subject of popular music, most of us are only familiar with that of the 20th Century, with little idea even what constituted “popular music” in 1350, for example. As the story goes, Playboy asked a bunch of musos for their end-of-the-millennium lists, and, knowing well that they really meant only the last 100 of the 1000 years, Richard Thompson took them at their word and dug back into the beginnings of music as we know it. After compiling the list, he decided it would make a nice show, and this live recording, in addition to documenting the history of Western popular music, is testament to the the man’s broad knowledge and good taste. Aside from the occasional presence of Judith Owen’s voice or Michael Jerome’s percussion, it’s solo Thompson, full of the wry humor and stellar guitar playing for which he’s known. You can take as given that the quality of the performance is high, so the choice of material becomes the defining factor – Thompson manages to represent most of the ten centuries, from “Summer Is Icumen In” (documented in the 13th Century and likely much older) to “Oops! I Did It Again” from the waning days of the 20th. Songs in English (of whatever century) dominate, from folk to music hall to jazz to rock and roll to rhythm and blues to “disposable” pop. I’m now waiting for Volume Two...

Filed under: New releases, Issue 29, 2003 releases

Related artist(s): Richard Thompson

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Holy Lamb - Salt of the Earth – What’s a prog band from Latvia doing on Mellow singing in fluent English? Looking for an international piece of the pie, I guess, and it looks like to some degree they may get it. I sometimes...  (2001) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues