|Richard Thompson||Acoustic Classics II|
Richard Thompson — Acoustic Classics II (22 July 2014) •→√•→ Acoustic Classics, a collection of newly recorded Richard Thompson songs, features 14 tracks culled from four decades in music.
•→√•→ The founder member of Fairport Convention, and part of a duo with his wife Linda — until his piety after a conversion to Sufism got the better of her — Richard Thompson is one of the best guitarists in Britain. He is capable of appropriating any style while still sounding like nobody else. That skill is put to good effect on an album of old favourites presented with nothing more than acoustic guitar and voice.
Birth name: Richard John Thompson
Born: 3 April 1949, Notting Hill Gate, London, England
Genre: Folk rock, electric folk
Album released: 21 July 2014 (UK)/22 July 2014 (USA)
Recorded: Rumiville Studio, Texas
Record Label: Beeswing Records/Proper Records
01. I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight) (1974) 2:57
02. Walking on a Wire (Shoot Out the Lights) (1982) 3:53
03. Wall of Death (Shoot Out the Lights) 3:23
04. Down Where the Drunkards Roll (I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight) 4:04
05. One Door Opens (The Old Kit Bag) (2003) 3:46
06. Persuasion (debut studio recording, first live recording on Celtschmerz) (1998) 3:54
07. 1952 Vincent Black Lightning (Rumor and Sigh) (1991) 5:12
08. I Misunderstood (Rumor and Sigh) 3:57
09. From Galway to Graceland (Watching the Dark) (1993) 3:29
10. Valerie (Daring Adventures) (1986) 4:24
11. Shoot Out the Lights (Shoot Out the Lights) 4:16
12. Beeswing (Mirror Blue) (1994) 5:42
13. When the Spell is Broken (Across a Crowded Room) (1985) 4:19
14. Dimming of the Day (Pour Down Like Silver) (1975) 3:18
•→√•→ Richard Thompson — guitars and vocals
•→√•→ All tracks written by Richard Thompson except “Persuasion” by Thompson and Tim Finn
• Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders) #42
• Dutch Albums (MegaCharts) #93
• New Zealand Albums (RMNZ) #32
• UK Albums (OCC) #16
• US Billboard 200 #103
• US Folk Albums (Billboard) #3
• US Independent Albums (Billboard) #21
• US Top Rock Albums (Billboard) #34
• US Top Tastemaker Albums (Billboard) #11
Jonathan Aird, Posted on July 19, 2017
•→√•→ The first of two acoustic albums this year — Now That’s What I call Richard Thompson Acoustic II doesn’t disappoint. 8/10
•→√•→ Richard Thompson has something of a reputation as a perfectionist, and this trait caused him, a couple of years back, to review his available acoustic recordings with a critical ear. Mostly consisting of acoustic spots or complete solo acoustic concerts there was a lot of material available, but perhaps they weren’t the very finest recordings — not perfect presentations of band songs reconfigured for just one guitar and voice. Although the acoustic bonus disc for Dream Attic had already shown the way, the resolution of this problem for the back catalogue was 2014’s Acoustic Classics — studio recordings with an excellent sound quality which gave a new way of listening to well know songs. It, quite rightly, attracted a slew of positive reviews. Simply put Acoustic Classics II, as the astute reader may have already guessed, is more of the same.
•→√•→ There’s a generous selection of fourteen songs on Acoustic Classics II, and again these are taken from across Thompson’s career — Jet Plane in a rocking chair and the aching beauty of A heart needs a home from the Richard and Linda years, several Fairport Convention tunes including Genesis Hall and a haunting Meet on the ledge as well as solo album material such as the still devastating Gethsemane. It’s an abundance of riches, of which the finest might well be Crazy man Michael — the guitar here is so elegant, and Richard Thompson unravels the tragic story with a perfectly balanced vocal. It’s hard to credit that Thompson wrote this song (with the late Dave Swarbrick) when he was just nineteen; there’s such an assurance to the writing and the memorable imagery captured within apparent lyrical simplicity: “Your future, your future I would tell to you / the future you often have asked me” taunts the raven before predicting the death of Michael’s true love. And Michael’s reaction ? “Michael he ranted and Michael he raved and he beat at the four winds with his fists oh / he laughed and he cried and he shouted and he swore / for his mad mind had trapped him with a kiss oh”. It always produces a shiver — and this acoustic version no less achieves this.
•→√•→ Richard Thompson is the gift that just keeps giving — without a truly bad album to his name it’s just a matter of deciding how excellent each release is compared to what has gone before. Acoustic Classics II is a good companion to the original album, and offers an excellent selection of songs casting a slightly wider net to draw on Fairport days. Some of the songs are a little less well known — not necessarily a bad thing — and this is something which will be further developed on the upcoming Acoustic Rareties. Naturally anyone who already has a box full of Richard Thompson albums will want to add this to their collection, but the more casual listener will find this a chest of treasures. The sound is great, Richard Thompson’s voice is strong and the playing is exemplary. Sure, this or that personal favourite song may not have been included — but there’s still plenty of time for further releases in this series, culminating, perhaps, in a huge acoustic collection. Why not? •→√•→ http://americana-uk.com/
By Martin Chilton, 1:53PM BST 23 Jul 2014 / Score: ****½
•→√•→ When you have four decades of superb music to draw on, it can’t be easy deciding which songs to re~record for new acoustic versions.
•→√•→ Richard Thompson has picked well for his new album Acoustic Classics, which sounds as clear as crystal thanks to new recording technology, includes the song Galway to Graceland, a disturbing and tragi~comic tale of a middle~aged woman’s obsession with Elvis Presley. There is a fine Shoot Out the Lights, which is a good example of how Thompson can make songs previously performed with a band sound fresh and original played solo. “I really wanted to have something that would reflect the acoustic shows,” Thompson said. “But we didn’t have anything like that. Just some old, slightly scratchy recordings of solo sets that I wasn’t really happy with.”
•→√•→ Thompson was never particularly happy with his 1984 solo acoustic live album Small Town Romance, and though there have also been a number of live solo albums and offcut releases, Acoustic Classics brings across the power and intimacy of the acoustic shows that have evolved as a full parallel to his band tours. I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, Persuasion and Wall of Death are excellent but I did feel Thompson was straining a little on Walking on a Wire to deliver something fresh vocally to a song he must have sung hundreds of time.
•→√•→ The album is full of interesting guitar flourishes and rhythms which bring an imaginative touch to classics such as as Beeswing and 1952 Vincent Black Lightning. Down Where the Drunkards Roll sounds even more mournful in the hands of a wise old bird of 65.
•→√•→ If (oh dear) you haven’t got a Richard Thompson album in your collection, then this is a great way to get to know a truly inspired songwriter. But even if you know his work inside out, then you will still find much to enjoy listening to a master re~touch some of his best works. • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/
|Richard Thompson||Acoustic Classics II|