Richard Thompson's New "Electric" Album on New-West Recorded Analog

Richard Thompson's new album Electric due out February 5th was recorded analog at Buddy Miller's Nashville home studio, according to Mr. Thompson in a short interview published in a Florida newspaper. (Thanks to Home Theater's other MF Mark Fleischmann, for sending to me the URL of the interview).

Thompson volunteered the information, saying it was recorded analog and has a "different sound." Yes, that's one way of putting it.

Miller plays rhythm guitar along with Thompson's regular rhythm section and Thompson is joined on various tracks by guests including Alison Krauss.

A 'deluxe' CD edition includes songs not on the LP or standard CD edition so Thompson addicts will have to double dip.

There's no guaranty lacquers will be cut from analog masters and New West usually presses at United in Nashville so there's no guaranty the results will be awesome, but if you were fortunate enough to get a copy of the limited to 1000 copies 2.5 LPs Buddy Miller's Majestic Silver Strings (New West 5028) you know that United is capable of pressing quiet 180 LPs and that however this was mastered it sounds fabulous.

I bought copy # 849 and was lucky that a friend found it on the Internet for me. Apparently New West was out of them almost as soon as it was issued but it's worth a search.

gubarenko's picture

Amazon says there's 4 bonus tracks on side D. Here:

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joannepankey58's picture

I'm looking forward to seeing RT at Strathmore in Rockville, MD, at the end of March (a gorgeous venue). It's a bill with Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell as

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Rayman's picture

Only 2000 copies.

(Edit)And I see another vinyl run for rest of world being done by Proper Records.

May avoid the United Nashville problem although my Silver Strings copy is superbly done. (#716)

Paul Boudreau's picture

...the Buddy Miller tip (just bought 822/1000 on eBay).

I'm looking forward to seeing RT at Strathmore in Rockville, MD, at the end of March (a gorgeous venue).  It's a bill with Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell as well.

I also saw RT (solo) at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA, late last year for the first time in quite a while.  He hasn't lost a step.

robertaich's picture

So does anyone have any experience with an LP on the UK's Proper label? The money comes out about the same ordering the US through amazon or the English pressing through I have some small fear of avoiding the United US pressing only to find that Proper doesn't have a better pressing plant themselves. Anyone?

gMRfk6LMHn's picture

I have a couple of LPs on the Proper label, Los Lobos, Richard Thompson, Dr. John, Jimmie Vaughan.

I have no problem with the pressing quality but am not so enamoured with the sound. There is nothing on the sleeve credits or in the deadwax to indicate what source or who mastered the LPs, which suggests they were supplied with high res files.

Strangely enugh I bought both of Jimmie Vaughan's Plays Blues, Ballads and Favourites, the second LP 'Plays More...' has a sticker on it ''Wide Groove 45rpm 180 Gram Vinyl'' and it is the best sounding Proper of the lot.

Prices here for Proper Records are very reasonable because it is a UK company.

James, Dublin, Ireland

my new username's picture

My U.S. copy arrived today. It's very quiet throughout, more quiet than my analog front end (that's actually NOT saying much in my case, but ...)

And yes there's United's circled "U" in each deadwax as well as WP/NRP. The catalog number, NW-5072 is hand scribed on all with -A, -B, -C or -D as applicable.

From the inside of the gatefold:

Mastered at Zen Masters by Ray Kennedy

Additional mastering for vinyl by George Ingram - NRP - Nashville

There's a sticker on the shrinkwrap that includes, "Audio Mastered for Vinyl". Buddy Milller and crew care. And they GET IT.

I'm pleased with the music and the LPs but a buddy's U.S. copy has a noise problem with at least part of one side.

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fivecolors's picture

Hey Micheal:

How about sharing the url for Fla interview (omg, I'm a huge Thompson Fan). Oh, and I just pre-ordered on Amazon and, found a copy of the Buddy Miller on Amazon marketplace. Thanks so much for the tip!

Michael Fremer's picture

I hope everyone realizes there's an interview on this site I conducted with Richard Thompson back in 1982 and one with ex Linda too!

Paul Boudreau's picture

Didn't know that, thanks.  I first saw him, twice, in 1985 here in DC:  Once at the 9:30 Club with the Clive & Chris band and solo (with then-unknown local Mary Chapin Carpenter opening) at the Saba Club.  I was hooked.

fivecolors's picture

Great stuff. I would have loved to see that tour. Sadly, i only came aware of Thompson around the time of "Across a Crowded Room". I've seen him many times since. My favorite were the many times he played the now closed "Bottom Line" in NYC.

Anyone know if the 4 men wth beards version of "Shoot Out The Lights" is any good?

my new username's picture

While I can't comment directly to that, 4 Men With Beards is one of those labels to proceed with caution because they typically don't cite source provenance. More to the point they probably lack the budget to aquire original masters for cutting and so, don't.

Seek an original on Hannibal Records (HNBL 1303) and you won't be sorry. When in doubt err on the side of "first born" (i.e. where recorded/mixed, because original masters didn't always get shipped across the world for each country to create equal quality records) ... so a UK pressing in this case.

my new username's picture

Thanks for the nudge, Michael. I only kinda sorta figured what the music would be like but took the plunge and I'm glad I did. Mine (#574) arrived today from a Discogs seller and it's as perfect a pressing as anyone could ever want. It has a natural ease and warm clarity that serves the music very well.

I know it's customary to peg this kind of thing today as "Americana" but my first reaction was, "Oh, now I own more cowboy music. That's cool." No dig there, and no the whole thing isn't campfire-and-ponies tunes but that's the vibe I got from it and I like.

Wife: "Wait -- how do you play Side 4?"

Me: "So very carefully that you don't lower the stylus onto it."

I Googled the MCI tape recorder mentioned on the back cover that Miller uses and learned how they came to be a succesful innovator and latter-day competitor to the big name recorders. What a fascinating story MCI was. 

tresaino's picture

I just received the Proper LP from, and don't know what is wrong with it but the sound is terrible. Worse than mp3, unlistenable. Did anyone else experience a similar problem?

John G's picture

I ordered from Amazon UK because of the attractive price and received the Proper Records version.  The recording does not strike me as being that great despite my hopes given Michael's write up.  Seems very compressed which is a shame.  Perhaps the US version is different.  This blog is great but the format seems to bury older information.   Hope those that ordered this album comment,  I'd be curious of their thoughts.  I should have held off in hindsight.  It sounds like a loud mess just as the previous poster mentioned.  Bummer!

my new username's picture

Can't offer much help, as my current system isn't very dynamic. By that I mean, I'm using an old, reletively lifeless cartridge (new stylus however.) But I wouldn't call the U.S. pressing "incredibly" dynamic regardless. I just finished listening at a moderately-high volume and wasn't fatigued in the least - a good sign, sez I.

my new username's picture

John, this is what I do for all these Source Interlink blogs. It's convoluted, but so is the web design.

1) Make sure you're logged in.

2) Click on "my account". See it in that same list on the right-hand side, along with Messages, Gallery etc.?

3) Click the "Track" button up top above the comments area where it shows View-Edit-Friends-Track.

You should see a number for new comments for posts you've commented on. Hope that helps.

Dangerbird's picture

" to 1000 copies 2.5 LPs Buddy Miller's Majestic Silver Strings (New West 5028)"

Hmmmm, I have a copy of this album, and very good it is too, but it is numbered as number 235 of 500.  Puzzling.