Beeswing: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice 1967–1975

Algonquin. Apr. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781616208950. $26.95. MUSIC
Singer-songwriter-guitarist extraordinaire Thompson has been performing and recording music of great proficiency and depth for more than 50 years: as a founding member of the legendary and genre-creating folk rock group Fairport Convention; as a duo with his then-wife Linda; and as a solo artist, with stunning results. Like his songs, his memoir is character-focused, emotionally resonant, introspective, and written with a master’s sympathy, depth, and touch. An innovative songwriter and a talented and congenial sideman, Thompson has had ample opportunity to play with a range of musicians, many of whom have achieved acclaimed status, and fascinating tales abound here. As a storyteller, Thompson describes moments of emotional withdrawal and occasional self-criticism—understandably, given that he’s had his share of hardship and tragedy. He is never less than razor-sharp, and credit is due for including both the highs and lows.
VERDICT Thompson’s spell is never broken, and, as on disc, his is a welcome voice to meet on the page. Readers will be eager for the next volume of the story. Like a great Richard Thompson solo, this title contains surprise, beauty, delight, and a voice like no other. His autobiography is as welcome as it is long overdue.
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