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Richard Thompson - Acoustic Rarities

  by Nicky Crewe

published: 19 / 11 / 2017

Richard Thompson - Acoustic Rarities
Label: Beeswing
Format: CD


Richard Thompson's 'Acoustic Rarities' prove to be a rare thing, bringing great songs from his back catalogue out of obscurity for us all to enjoy

Richard Thompson released 'Acoustic Classics Vol 2' earlier this year. This album of rarities, consisting of previously unreleased tracks and songs covered by other artists, introduces us to some lesser known versions of those songs before his next solo UK tour. Here’s hoping that some of them will be included in the set. Richard Thompson has a wealth of material to choose from, with an influential and illustrious career that harks back to Fairport Convention in the late Sixties, right up to date. He’s tireless and prolific as a performer and songwriter. His music is timeless, his voice is distinctive and his guitar playing is legendary. He can transport you back to a time when you first heard a particular song. This is because his lyrics and song stories demand concentration and attention. Much as I am an admirer of his music and acknowledge his influence on folk rock, acoustic music and contemporary songwriting, I don’t always find it comfortable to listen to. Sometimes his songs can make me feel irritated and uneasy. I would argue that this is part of his message, his talent as a songwriter. We all need to be taken out of our comfort zone sometimes and who better to do it. So, for Thompson fans this album is a rare thing, an opportunity to hear songs from as far back as 1970, charting his work with Fairport Convention and with his ex-wife Linda. There’s a poignancy and a sense of regret that you would expect in many of the songs, for example the unreleased 'They Tore The Hippodrome Down'. Contemporary folk artist Blair Dunlop covered the traditional sounding 'Seven Brothers', following in the footsteps of his parent’s generation. The optimistic 'Rainbow Over the Hill' was recorded by the Albion Band, in stark contrast to the message of 'End of the Rainbow' from 1974, with its dystopian conclusion that there’s nothing there, a child’s shattered dream. 'Never Again' from Richard and Linda Thompson’s 'Hokey Pokey' is heartbreakingly sad. Thompson explores other musical genres than folk. 'I Must Have a March' has echoes of Berlin cabaret. 'I’ll Take All My Sorrows to Sea' was originally written for an orchestral song suite. There’s a ragtime feel to 'Alexander Graham Bell'. 'Sloth', from 'Fairport’s Full House' in 1974 is as chilling as it ever was, and even more relevant today in its exploration of war mongering - "Just a roll on your drum". The album ends with a previously unreleased track, 'She Played Right Into My Hands', a sinister story of a deceitful and controlling relationship, which takes me back to my point about uneasy listening. This collection won’t disappoint fans of Richard Thompson and it adds something special to his extensive catalogue.

Track Listing:-
1 What If?
2 They Tore The Hippodrome Down
3 Seven Brothers
4 Rainbow Over The Hill
5 Never Again
6 I Must Have A March
7 I'll Take My Sorrows To The Sea
8 Poor Ditching Boy
9 Alexander Graham Bell
10 Sloth
11 Push And Shove
12 End Of The Rainbow
13 Poor Will And The Jolly Hangman
14 She Played Right Into My Hands

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live reviews

Buxton Opera House, Buxton,
Richard Thompson - Buxton Opera House, Buxton,
Nicky Crewe watches Richard Thompson play a stunning acoustic solo show over a Bank Holiday weekend in the intimate and theatrical setting of the Opera House in Buxton

digital downloads



13 Rivers (2018)
Excellent new album from Richard Thompson which features a set of profound, technically astute songs but proves not for the light-hearted romantic
Electric (2013)
Dream Attic (2010)

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