I’ve thoroughly fallen down on my Team Tiny Peppers duties, but at least I’m here. Sometimes.
But I haven’t been neglectful without reason. In addition to all the general business of life, last Tuesday I saw the great and criminally underrated Richard Thompson at the Teregram Ballroom in Los Angeles. It was a wonderful show, but left me with a pressing question: What does it say about the state of music today when a 70-year-old muslim from England with nothing but a slightly amplified acoustic guitar can rock harder than most everyone two generations younger? Not much that’s very good or kind.
Of course, I didn’t take any pictures or video, partly because the Teregram said not to and partly because I choose not to live my life through the camera of my iPhone. And of course, the song I decide to include with the post is not one of Richard’s harder rocking numbers (but here’s a little clip if you want a taste of that). But it does represent, a little poorly, what I considered the highlight of the show.
Richard brought his son Teddy out to join him onstage for a couple songs, and “Persuasion” was the best. Because it represents the kind of melancholy longing mixed with resigned cynicism that Richard Thompson excels writing. Because it showed his delicate and deliberate skill with the guitar. Because it allowed his beautiful baritone to soar. And last, but certainly not least, because it surprised me with how glorious Teddy’s voice is.
Now I knew Teddy was talented; with Richard for a father and Linda Thompson for a mother, how could he not be. But what I wasn’t prepared for was to hear this emotional, clear, rich combination of the best of both parents’ voices. This clip from a few years ago isn’t anything close to the breathtaking experience I had a week ago, but it gives you a sense of it. A couple times during the song, I saw Richard glance over at his son with the Proud Dad smile. If I was his parent, I’d be pretty proud of Teddy, too.