Richard Thompson was born in London in 1949, and grew up listening to jazz, folk and rock & roll. By the age of 18 he was playing lead guitar in the folk-rock group Fairport Convention, who began their career modelling themselves after the American west coast rock bands of the time before moving towards traditional English folk material. Thompsons's delicate, tasteful guitar lines (working alongside fellow guitarist Simon Nicol) were an important part of the group's sound from the beginning, and he also encouraged them to move away from cover material and start writing their own songs. As a writer, he was responsible for classic early Fairport songs such as "Meet On The Ledge" and "Genesis Hall", and co-wrote many others with other band members. After a highly successful 1969 which saw the band release three ground-breaking albums, they lost their focal point when lead singer Sandy Denny departed. After 1970's Full House Thompson himself also left. He spent a while focusing on session work (appearing on albums by old band mates Denny and Ian Matthews), before he decided to start his own solo career.
Henry The Human Fly was released in 1972, and introduced Thompson as a singer-songwriter. It was some quality folk-rock with a distinctly English flavour, and showed much promise for his new career direction. However it was not actually well received at the time, being panned by the critics and almost finishing off Thompson's solo career before it had begun. Fortunately he persevered, and retrospectively the album is now very highly regarded.
The album featured bassist Pat Donaldson (of Fotheringay), accordion player John Kirkpatrick, guitarist Andy Roberts (on dulcimer), fiddler Barry Dransfield and fellow Fairport alumni Sandy Denny and Ashley Hutchings. Also featured was a singer by the name of Linda Peters - before long the two of them had married, and his next album would be put out as Richard & Linda Thompson.
|> I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight (1974)
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