Saturday, March 31, 2012

Richard Thompson Covers: Beeswing

Mary Lou Lord: Beeswing


1952 Vincent Black Lightning and Beeswing both stand out on the Richard Thompson albums on which they originally appeared as acoustic ballads amidst mostly electric full-band songs. Mary Lou Lord covers both on her solo acoustic album Live City Sounds, but with very different results. She pushes her delivery of Vincent Black Lightning, and instead of sounding passionate, it sounds strident and forced. But Lord’s version of Beeswing is another matter. She sings this one with a restraint that perfectly conveys the sense of fragility that Thompson wrote about. The song seems to be set in modern times, but the female protagonist might as well be a gypsy girl from an old English folk song. Lord sings, “She was a rare thing/ Fine as a beeswing”, and you utterly believe her. The romance in the song must end, and Lord adds to her version some tolling chords at the end that bring out this sense of finality perfectly.

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