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RICHARD THOMPSON - Acoustic Rarities

RICHARD THOMPSON - Acoustic Rarities
Beeswing Inc BSW016P

Cards on the table... I would buy a CD (but perhaps not a DVD!) of Richard singing in the bath, so I start with a bias. This follows Acoustic Classics 1 and 2 and the tracks are, as the title suggests, slightly more esoteric. Thompson has re-recorded these songs with accompaniment almost exclusively from his own peerless acoustic plectrum-and-fingers playing, so this is very much not a lo-fi set of ancient demos and live recordings.

Fairport’s 1970 Sloth is a revelation of melancholy in this stripped-down form and no-one has ever bettered End Of The Rainbow (1974) as a dark, brutal exploration of the darker side of life. Balancing all of this gloom are things like Alexander Graham Bell – a bouncy song that Tom Lehrer would have been proud of and guitar playing that Django Reinhardt would have applauded. The song is a fine tribute to the unknown corners of Bell’s genius and a startling display of RT’s ability to play guitar well in virtually any style. Rainbow Over The Hill is a far happier meteorological allusion – a memorable, optimistic sing-along covered in 1992 by the Albion Band.

Thi is just today’s choice of highlights – this is matchless music from one of our greatest songwriters and guitarists.

Alan Murray

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This album was reviewed in Issue 121 of The Living Tradition magazine.