Will You Dance, Charlie Boy? - Richard Thompson

from the album Electric (Bonus Disk version only) (2013)

There is little I can add to the long list of accolades that accompany any description of Richard Thompson, except to say that I believe he is about the finest songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist in music today and that two of his songs - Wall Of Death and 1952 Vincent Black Lightning - rank amongst my favorite songs ever.

Add to that list the song Will You Dance, Charlie Boy? from Electric, his most laudable album this millennium.  Here is why:

--> The song has a ramblin', uptempo, country shuffle.  The kind I imagine hearing at a country fair.  I find this sound very refreshing, particularly when it it so well played.

-->  The drummer - Michael Jerome - establishes and maintains the galloping beat throughout the entire song.  I have a affinity for drummers who can work a snare like that.

-->  I enjoy the storyline of an older fellow returning to his old town, with the lingering question "Will he whoop it up like the old days?" The country fair vibe perfectly suits the lyrics.  I particularly enjoy the first verse

Will You Dance, Charlie Boy?  Will You Dance?
Though the sequins are worn
And tattered and torn
And the seat is right out of your pants
Will You Dance, Charlie Boy?  Will You Dance?

-->  The fiddle line that brings a joy and frivolity to the song is expertly played by Stuart Duncan.  It is one of the best fiddle tracks I have heard in over a decade.

-->  Richard Thompson's vocal.

-->  The guitar work on the first instrumental break is incredible. Starting with the tone that Richard Thompson achieves in the opening descent down the guitar neck.  It is only matched by the fantastic tone and styling of the second guitar, played by country legend Buddy Miller.

-->  The production by Buddy Miller.  This song was recorded on 16-track analog gear at Buddy Miller's house in Tennessee.  You can hear the warmth of the recording baked into every note.  Exquisite.

Click Here to watch a stripped down version of Will You Dance, Charlie Boy? performed on a cruise ship earlier this year.  Note the great guitar lead played by Buddy Miller during the break.

Click Here to watch a live performance of Wall Of Death.

Click Here to watch a live performance of 1952 Vincent Black Lightning.