Linda Thompson

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  

- Linda Thompson (aka Linda Pettifer, aka Linda Peters, 

  aka Linda Kenis) -- vocals


  supporting musicians:

- Chris Bayliss -- 

- Fran Breen -- 

- Jerry Donahue --

- Liam Genocky -- 

- Albert Lee -- guitar

- Stephen Lipson -- 

- Kevin Powell -- 

- Gary Twigg -- 



The Bunch

- Fairport Convention

- Hokey Pokey

- The Pale Orchestra

- Paul and Linda

- Paul McNeill and Linda Peters)

- Richard and Linda Thompson



Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  One Clear Moment

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog:  1-25164

Country/State: London, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: original inner sleeve

Catalog ID: 3580

Price: $10.00

I'm not big into hyperbole.  As an example, if you are simply doing your job, that strikes me as equating to average performance.  An okay waiter, or waitress is going to get an okay tip from me, but certainly not a big bonus.  The same is true with music.  A good album is my base expectation.  It take more than good to really get noticed.  It's like a a bell curve - most things fall in the middle with crappy and great exceptions at the ends of the curve.


Using the bell curve analogy, 1985's "One Clear Moment" is one of those albums that falls at the extremities on the curve.  In this case, although few people heard it when released, I'd argue the album was one of the best collections to see daylight in the mid-'80s. It's also an album that has a deep personal meaning to me in that I bought it while going through the break-up of my first marriage.  Accordingly it was an album that I could relate to and spent way too much time on my stereo system.  Released a couple of years after husband Richard Thompson came home from a brief American tour and informed the then-pregnant Linda he was no longer in love with her and wanted to marry an American woman he'd met while on tour, the collection served as Linda's solo debut.  Produced by Hugh Murphy and largely co-written with Betsy Cook (who was then married to producer Murphy), the album served to highlight Thompson's stunning voice and dark and highly personal reflections on life and love.  Largely original material like the title track, 'Telling Me Lies' and 'In Love with the Flames' made for one of the best "break-up" albums ever recorded.  Mind you, this wasn't one of those "pull me back from the bridge" collections that was going to send English majors into spasms of self-abusive delight.  Yeah, the subject matter was tough, but on tracks like 'Can't Stop the Girl', 'Hell, High Water and Heartache' and the hopelessly optimistic 'Best of Friends' Thompson made it clear that while she was deeply scarred by the breakup of her relationship, she was a survivor who was going to make it through.   I simply can't even begin to tell you what an impact the collection has me as I struggled to rebuild my life.  



The album was even more impressive when you realize it was completed after she's recovered from a severe case of spasmodic dysphonia which left her unable to sing.




"One Clear Moment" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Can't Stop the Girl   (Betsy Cook - Linda Thompson) - 3:49   rating:**** stars

I'll readily admit that in view of Thompson's work with former husband Richard, I was expecting to hear a collection of heart wrenching, self-loathing.   The opening 'Can't Stop the Girl' was everything but ...  Like most of the album, co-written with American Barbara Cook, the opener was a straight-ahead rocker that shown as the perfect example if "fu*k-the-ex-and-on-with-my-own-life".   Yeah, producer Murphy gave the tune a bit too much of an '80s sound, but the result was impossible to forget.  Warner Brothers tapped it as an American single:

- 1985's 'Can't Stop the Girl' b/w 'Talking Like a Man' (Warner Brothers catalog number 7-29076)


2.) One Clear Moment   (Betsy Cook - Linda Thompson) - 3:55   rating:**** stars

Wrapped in a breezy melody, the title track was one of the prettiest songs she's ever written, though the lyric (which seems to have something to do with thoughts of suicide), was rather dark.   Warner Brothers tapped it as the album's second single:

   7" release

- 1985's 'One Clear Moment' b/w 'Talking Like a Man' (Warner Brothers catalog number 7-28996)

   12" release

- 1985's 'One Clear Moment' b/w 'Can't Stop the Girl' (Warner Brothers catalog number PRO-A-2250)

3.) Telling Me Lies   (Betsy Cook - Linda Thompson) - 4:28   rating:***** stars

Sadly, most folks seem to know this tune from the Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmy Lou Harris version (off their "Trio" album).  Yeah, their cover was good, but Thompson's original remains the standard ...  perhaps the ultimate break-up song. Applicable to both women and men (spoken from personal experience).   YouTube has a brief clip of Thompson and co-writer Cook performing an abbreviated version of the song at the 1988 Grammies (be warned about the '80s wardrobes): 

4.) In Love with the Flames   (Betsy Cook - Linda Thompson) - 3:51   rating:***** stars

Admittedly the '80s production sound hasn't aged all that well, but the song's autobiographical lyric was quite appealing.  Guess the message is you should listen to those early warning signs.   LOL

5.) Les Trois Beaux Oiseaux de Pardis   (M. Ravel) - 2:21   rating:**** stars

I think it translates along the lines of "the three beautiful birds of paradise" ...  I remember seeing an interview with Thompson where she expressed a love for French classical music.  Guess than explains this oddball cover.  Imagine a bunch of nuns singing a Gregorian chant and you'll have a feel for this one.  Stunning, but may kill conventional rock fans.


(side 2)

1.) Take Me On the Subway   (Betsy Cook) - 3:34   rating:**** stars

With a weird world-music meets electronica feel, 'Take Me On the Subway ' was one of the album's stranger offerings.  I will admit the tune grew on me with time.

2.) Best of Friends   (Betsy Cook) - 3:47   rating:*** stars

A stark, haunting ballad, 'Best of Friends' was one of those songs with a plotline that simply doesn't happen in real life.  The melody crept into your head and would not leave.

3.) Hell, High Water and Heartache   (Betsy Cook - Linda Thompson) - 4:15   rating:*** stars

Surprisingly funny that was marred by the Murphy's patented '80s production.

4.) Just Enough To Keep Me Hanging On  (B. Mize - I. Allen) - 3:23  rating:**** stars

I grew up on the Joe Simon version and as much as I love it, I have to tell you Thompson's cover was equally impressive.  Who would have thought a white woman from London would be able to match a master soul singer like Simon's performance ?

5.) Lover Won't You Throw Me a Line   (Betsy Cook - Linda Thompson) - 3:21  rating:**** stars

Another soul-infused tune that underscored how great Thompson's voice was.  The woman could literally sing pages out of a phonebook and make it sound good.

6.) Only a Boy   (Linda Thompson) - 2:40  rating:**** stars

Recorded live, 'Only a Boy' was just Thompson and spare piano ...  stunning.   


Although the album received positive reviews from critics, it did little commercially with Thompson dropping out of music for the next decade, remarrying American music agent Steve Kenis and focusing her creative attentions on her London antique jewelry store.