Tiny Desk

Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson: Tiny Desk Concert

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/132899157/133372619" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Richard Thompson is the creative force at the heart of some of my all-time favorite records. I loved his electric-guitar playing on Fairport Convention's 1969 classic Unhalfbricking — it's a treasure of an album. But it was his solo record Henry the Human Fly and later his partnership with Linda Thompson when he shined brightest. His powerfully sad and expressive songwriting and fierce guitar playing are what hooked me. His music had the drone of Scottish music and the electricity of Neil Young.

Thompson recently released his 20th solo album, Dream Attic, which he recorded before an audience — a bold thing to do. You can hear me mention that to a packed office in this Tiny Desk Concert. When I mentioned how brave it was to do such a thing, Thompson quipped back, "And this isn't brave?" Thompson's music is infused with that sort of shrewd, hard-biting wit. You can hear it in "The Money Shuffle," here dedicated "to our good friends on Wall Street:"

"I love kittens and little babies," he sings. "Can't you see that's the guy I am / And your money is so safe with me / You never met such an honest man."

Whether he's dispensing an honest take on politics or on love, Thompson's heartfelt voice and that guitar have made him a vital artist with a songwriting future to go with his treasure trove of music from his past.

Set List
  • "The Money Shuffle"
  • "Stumble On"
  • "Demons In Her Dancing Shoes"
Credit

Michael Katzif (camera); edited by Bob Boilen; photo by Abby Verbosky/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Delicate Steve performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Mar. 3, 2017. (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero/NPR

Tiny Desk

Delicate Steve

This fierce and lyrical guitar player writes playful instrumental music led by hooky vocals — but there is no voice, just the human-like twang of a glass slide on a guitar.

Sampha performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 7, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Sampha

A Tiny Desk Concert as intimate as it gets (that's saying something). Just Sampha, a piano and three heart-wrenching songs that seem to double as coping mechanisms.

Red Baraat performs at Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 8, 2017. (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero/NPR

Tiny Desk

Tiny Desk Special Edition: Red Baraat's Holi Celebration

The Brooklyn bhangra band come to the Tiny Desk in celebration of Holi, the Hindu festival of color that welcomes the coming of spring.

Tank And The Bangas perform perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Mar. 6, 2017. (Niki Walker/NPR) Niki Walker/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Niki Walker/NPR

Tiny Desk

Tank And The Bangas

Tank And The Bangas' victory lap around the Tiny Desk was momentous, celebratory and deeply touching, with a flair and alchemy of styles that could come from New Orleans.

Maren Morris performs perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 16, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Maren Morris

One of the newest Grammy winners stops by the Tiny Desk to share her winking, sometimes tongue-in-cheek songs.

Ninet Tayeb performs perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 14, 2017. (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero/NPR

Tiny Desk

Ninet

One of Israel's very popular artists may be walking a similar path to early-career Joan Jett — she brought that same intensity to the Tiny Desk.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band performs perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 23, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Dirty Dozen Brass Band

To celebrate Fat Tuesday, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band brought their euphoric horns to the Tiny Desk for a raucous, joyous set.

Little Simz performs perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 23, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Little Simz

Little Simz has been compared to Lauryn Hill for her self-reflective wordplay. And though the British lyricist is a relative new-comer, her Tiny Desk performance was poised and confident.

Agnes Obel performs perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 9, 2016. (Raquel Zaldivar/NPR) Raquel Zaldivar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Raquel Zaldivar/NPR

Tiny Desk

Agnes Obel

Agnes Obel manipulated the Tiny Desk to better suit the deeply alluring and powerful music she brought to us.

Esme Patterson performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 1, 2017. (NPR) NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Tiny Desk

Esmé Patterson

Esmé Patterson has dropped the banjos and folk from her previous project Paper Bird, and in their place are electric guitars and a backing band worth getting behind.

Back To Top