Jan 31 2021 update
Today, for the first time to my knowledge since this site was launched 14 years ago, the number of visitors from the US exceeded that from the UK. Add Canadians and the margin, though narrow - 45 per cent against 38 - was probably enough to offset the annoying number of arrivals here via Google bots, whatever they are.
There are several reasons to explain rising or constant interest from North America. One is that my articles in Richard Thompson always attract a large transatlantic readership whether I‘m discussing purely his own performances or comparing versions of his songs which invariably, of course, include his own.
The three pieces that draw most « hits » are items concerning Beeswing, Dimming of the Day .... and the subject of today’s excuse to revive a past discussion, Galway to Graceland. I hope you enjoy it whether as a newcomer or returning visitor ...
My mind often wanders to Richard Thompson's achingly beautiful song Galway to Graceland, inventing the story of an Irishwoman who takes similar devotion a stage or three further.
She leaves her husband and slopes off in the middle of the night to fly to Memphis.
And silver wings carried her Over the sea From the west coast of Ireland To West Tennessee To be with her sweetheart, Oh she left everything From Galway to Graceland to be with the king
I offer two spellbinding versions, though there have been other fine and not-so-fine interpretations. Thompson's own, from a live performance, is hard to improve upon (note that he changes Suspicion to Love me Tender as the "song she liked best").
But Eleanor Shanley makes it sound like a song that he intended to be sung by a woman.
I am torn, loving them both and - rarely - decline to choose between them. Plenty of people are aware of the fabulous body of work Richard Thompson has contributed to songwriting, and of his superb guitar playing.
But countless more would say "who?" at mention of his name and it is verging on criminality that his truly magical output, from 1952 Vincent Black Lightning to Beeswing and from Waltzing's for Dreamers to Dimming of the Day, is known to a minority of discerning people.
Over to the Salut! Live jury.