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Legendary folk guitarist Richard Thompson records anti-war song from viewpoint of 'grunt'

Ron Brynaert
Published: Sunday February 4, 2007
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Legendary folk guitarist Richard Thompson recorded an anti-war song which is told from the viewpoint of a US soldier who fears being killed in Iraq.

The British musician, who formed the band Fairport Convention in 1967, is best known to music fans for the album Shoot Out the Lights, which he began recording in the early eighties with his folksinger wife, Linda Thompson, as they experienced marital problems. The album was released in 1982, after the couple separated, and was later named one of the 500 greatest of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. According to Wikipedia, "In August 2003, Rolling Stone magazine listed Thompson as #19 on its list of 'The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.'"

At the online news magazine Slate, Bonnie Goldstein reported on Thompson's new anti-war song.

"Lately at concerts he's been singing a song in protest against the Iraq war titled 'Dad's Gonna Kill Me,'" Goldstein writes. "'Dad,' Thompson explains to audiences, is grunt-speak for 'Baghdad,' much as ''Nam' once meant 'Vietnam.'"

Goldstein printed some lyrics from Thompson's song along with his "lyric cheat sheet."

In the song, Thompson sings, "'Dad's in a bad mood, 'Dad's got the blues; It's someone else's mess that I didn't choose; At least we're winning on the Fox evening news; 'Dad's Gonna Kill Me."

An mp3 of "Dad's Gonna Kill Me" can be heard at Thompson's website, and it will be on his next CD, "Sweet Warrior," slated for release in May.

Also at his website, Thompson includes a concert review from a show he recently performed in Tenafly, New Jersey.

"But last night RT's new numbers went over just as well as his old stand-by," Joanne Dexter writes. "And for good reason: the driving ferocity of 'Dad's Gonna Kill Me,' about a soldier's perspective on the Iraq war [Dad=Baghdad], is different entirely from any other songs in RT's catalog."

The review continues, "How can RT as a songwriter continue to write songs that discover new types of energy? How can he be around for as long as he's been and not have settled into a predictable pattern and 'sound?'"

Dexter concludes that "all that can be said is RT is RT, and no one else comes close."