Friday, 13 June 2014

The Song - Richard Thompson's "1952 Vincent Black Lightning"

Now I'm 21 years; I might make 22. And I don't mind dying, but for the love of you.

There's nothing in this world beats a 52 Vincent and a red headed girl .. indeed!

Some wonderful John Fahey-esque picking here in this live performance by Richard of his mighty "1952 Vincent Black Lightning." A song that Dylan himself covered at a live gig a few nights back.

It's a beautiful and typically idiosyncratic Thompson song, originally from his excellent 1991 collection Rumor and Sigh. And one of the greatest odes to a motorcycle there is!

Named for a legendary brand of British bike ("Nortons and Indians and Greeves won't do, they don't have a soul like a Vincent 52"), it's a tale of young James Adie, a bad lad who truly lives on the wild side but who adores his gal; a bike fanatic called Red Molly (renowned for "red hair and black leather, my favourite colour scheme"!)

Yeah, he loves her so much, he swears he'll let her ride his 1952 Vincent Black Lightning - if he dies!

And, inevitably, James is soon having to make good on his promise having been hit full-on by a shotgun blast during an armed robbery. He struggles to stay alive in the ward 'til he can see his Molly one last time. He smiles to see her, though death is at hand and there are "angels on Ariels in leather and chrome, swooping down from heaven to carry me home." As his last act on this earth he "gave her one last kiss and died and he gave her his Vincent to ride."

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