Richard Thompson, "For Shame of Doing Wrong" (Greatest Song of All Time of the Day)

Almost every Richard Thompson song could be subtitled, "Watch out!" You never know where it's going next and you always have to be wary, even when he's having fun. Thompson is as familiar with the dark end of the street as any songwriter, he's a singer of uncommon emotion, and as a character in High Fidelity, the first novel by closet rock critic Nick Hornby, notes, he's "England's finest electric guitarist." Thompson is both tasteful and wild; one of three (so far) overlapping box sets of his recordings includes a disc labelled "Epic Live Workouts" that includes precisely zero wankery. "For Shame of Doing Wrong" is one of Thompson's strongest compositions. It began life on Pour Down Like Silver, one of the '70s recordings he co-headlined with Linda Thompson, they recorded it again for the sessions they abandoned in favor of the Joe Boyd-overseen Shoot Out the Lights (a strong candidate for Greatest Album of All Time of the Day), and this version, recorded live in 1985, is Thompson at his best. The lyrics overflow with regret without turning maudlin, the band rocks, and the only thing wrong with the extended guitar solo is that it isn't long enough. Enjoy!