For some reason, all these years I’ve never seen Richard Thompson.
Finally – thanks to ticket-pusher Chris (also know as Papa Christo), I saw him last night. I told Chris he’s GOT to keep buying tickets; I never go out to live shows anymore unless someone else plans it.
Some of my friends have seen him dozens of times. I figured, there must be a reason. But you know, some of the same people saw The Dead literally hundreds of times; so who the hell knows.
Turns out – which is not a really big surprise – that they were right about Thompson. He’s fuckin’ brilliant. It’s hard to say for sure, but he may be the best guitarist I’ve ever seen actually playing live (I’d have to go way, way back in my memory to be sure, but he’s close anyway); but more importantly, he’s the kind of performer who makes you feel like you’re seeing something brand new every night. I just bought my tickets to see him play again in december, and I have the feeling it won’t be the last time.
Here then is what just might be the greatest motorcycle song ever, and certainly the only love song I can thing of about a boy and a girl and a motorcycle – 1952 Vincent Black Lightning.
This is pretty much exactly how it sounded last night, outside in the open air at the Mountain Winery.
Lyrics after the break, below.
Said Red Molly to James, that’s a fine motorbike
A girl could feel special on any such like
Said James to Red Molly,
Well my hat’s off to you
It’s a Vincent Black Lightning 1952
And I’ve seen you at the corners and cafes, it seems
Red hair and black leather
My favourite colour scheme
And he pulled her on behind
And down to Boxhill they did ride
Said James to Red Molly, here’s a ring for your right hand
But I’ll tell you in earnest,
I’m a dangerous man
I’ve fought with the law since I was seventeen
I robbed many a man to get my Vincent machine
Now I’m 21 years, I might make 22
And I don’t mind dying, but for the love of you
and if fate should break my stride
I’ll give you my Vincent to ride
Come down, come down, Red Molly
Called Seargeant McRae
For they’ve taken young James Adie for armed robbery
Shotgun blast hit his chest
Left nothing inside
come down, Red Molly to his dying bedside
When she came to the hospital
There wasn’t much left
He was running out of road
He was running out of breath
But he smiled to see her cry
Said I’ll give you my Vincent to ride
Said young James, in my opinion,
There’s nothing in this world
Beats a ’52 Vincent and a red-headed girl
Now Nortons and Indians and Greeves won’t do
They don’t have a soul like a Vincent ’52
He reached for her hand and he gave her the keys
He said I don’t have any further use for these
I see angels on ariels in leather and chrome
Swooping down from heaven to carry me home
He gave her one last kiss and died
And he gave her his Vincent to ride