By Tony Attwood
Everyone who knows Richard Thompson’s incredible contribution to popular music knows the 1952 Vincent Black Lightning. The song was included in Time magazine’s “All Time 100 Songs” list of the best English-language musical compositions released between 1923 and 2011 – and indeed in 2011 Richard Thompson was given an OBE. This song comes from the Rumour and Sigh album.
You might also know the work of Richard Thompson through Fairport Convention and through Richard and Linda Thompson.
Bob played the song just once (hence an inclusion here) on July 14 2013 in Clarkston MI
Of course one of the great problems with featuring once only performances is that the song and the performance may be wonderful, but sometimes bits of the recording are not so good, but I beg you to stay with this and ignore the voice that occasionally pops up. It is so worth it.
Says Red Molly to James "That's a fine motorbike A girl could feel special on any such like" Says James to Red Molly "My hat's off to you It's a Vincent Black Lightning, 1952 And I've seen you at the corners and cafés it seems Red hair and black leather, my favourite colour scheme" And he pulled her on behind And down to Box Hill they did ride Says 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 twenty-one years, I might make twenty-two And I don't mind dying, but for the love of you And if fate should break my stride Then I give you my Vincent to ride" "Come down, come down, Red Molly," called Sergeant McRae "For they've taken young James Adie for armed robbery Shotgun blast hit his chest, left nothing inside Oh, 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 And said "I give you my Vincent to ride" Says James, "In my opinion, there's nothing in this world Beats a '52 Vincent and a red-headed girl Now Nortons and Indians and Greeveses won't do They don't have a soul like a Vincent '52" He reached for her hand and he slipped her the keys He said "I've got no further use for these I see angels on Ariels in leather and chrome Swooping down from heaven to carry me home" And he gave her one last kiss and died And he gave her his Vincent to ride
18 June 1999 with Paul Simon, Concord CA
I love the way the guys got together and played making it sound as if they had not rehearsed when they apparently had. You only get one minute 32 seconds of this, but still it is great fun.
Blue Moon of Kentucky was written in 1945 by Bill Monroe and recorded by his band, the Blue Grass Boys and is described as one of the greatest country songs of all time. And as the composer says in the intro below, Elvis recorded it too.
And one more, Weeping Willow
A different Bob again! November 17 1993, at the Supper Club New York. He followed this rendition with “Delia’s Gone” and “Jim Jones at Botany Bay”.
This is a Blind Boy Fuller song,
Man, that weeping willow, moaning like a dove Weeping willow moaning like a dove Man, there's a gal up the country I sure do love If you see my baby tell her to hurry home You see my baby, tell her hurry home I ain't had no lovin' since my little girl been gone Where it ain't no love, ain't no gettin' along, ain't no love, mama, ain't no love and gettin' along. My baby treats me so mean and dirty, can't tell right from wrong Gonna buy me a bulldog, watch you while you sleep Buy me a bulldog, watch you while you sleep I have to stop them men from makin' early mornin' creep. You gonna want my love, mama, some old lonesome day, You gonna want my love, mama, some old lonesome day, But it'll be too late, I'll be gone too far away. Oh, that weeping willow, mourning like a dove Weeping willow mourning like a dove Well, there's a gal in the country man I sure do love.
It’s a song that has guitarists tearing their hair out because of the unusual chordal accompaniment. Here’s the original – it really is a fantastic tune with a gorgeous guitar part. What I can’t understand is why, having worked on this song Bob would only play it once; it is a super song, and his arrangement is exquisite. I will never understand this guy no matter how much I listen.
For what it is worth, I think it is really worth listening to Bob’s version again after hearing the original; it gives a greater insight into the song and the process Bob and the band had gone through to get to their version.
This is the second piece in the new “Once only file” series. If you are enjoying it one tenth as much as I am, scurrying around listening to the once only played songs and tracing the originals, then you are having a good time. If not, well, I’m still having fun.
And just in case you would like a little more
And down to Box Hill they did ride….
Untold Dylan: who we are what we do
Untold Dylan is written by people who want to write for Untold Dylan. It is simply a forum for those interested in the work of the most famous, influential and recognised popular musician and poet of our era, to read about, listen to and express their thoughts on, his lyrics and music.
We welcome articles, contributions and ideas from all our readers. Sadly no one gets paid, but if you are published here, your work will be read by a fairly large number of people across the world, ranging from fans to academics. If you have an idea, or a finished piece send it as a Word file to Tony@schools.co.uk with a note saying that it is for publication on Untold Dylan.
We also have a very lively discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook with around 7000 active members. Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link
You’ll find some notes about our latest posts arranged by themes and subjects on the home page of this site. You can also see details of our main sections on this site at the top of this page under the picture. Not every index is complete but I do my best. Tony Attwood