Richard & Linda Thompson: Shoot Out The Lights Production Notes

Production Notes

Olympic Studios in Barnes, London, was one of the UK's foremost recording facilities for over 40 years. Producer Joe Boyd enjoyed a long history there, and had worked with its longstanding engineer Bill Gill on several occasions, so it made sense as a comfortable location for the Shoot Out The Lights sessions.

However, Boyd's role as producer was not as straightforward as it might have been, because (as noted earlier) Linda Thompson was suffering from a spasmodic constriction in the muscles of the larynx. This made it impossible for her to sing the lead part on some songs as she had done on their demos and on the Gerry Rafferty-produced recordings.

Boyd was also obliged to cut-and-paste her tapes in order to achieve complete performances. Another consequence, inevitably, was that Richard undertook a few more lead turns than usual at the microphone.

His guitar and vocal parts were recorded live, with as few overdubs as possible. 'Shoot Out The Lights is like a live performance,' Thompson has said. 'You've got a stereo set-up like a stage and it's basically live.'

Although Gerry Rafferty's original recordings were nowhere near as bad as Richard Thompson felt them to be at the time, comparisons of the two sets of tapes reveal that Thompson's playing on the Boyd versions of the songs has considerably more attack and emotional impact.

One of the few criticisms of the album's production has come from drummer Dave Mattacks, who reckoned, 'I think that it's a great, great record, but it just sounds too '80s to me – I can hear the gates working on the drums.

'But then that's something that, as a musician for hire, you simply learn to step away from, because it's not really important.'