Proper Records (Distributed by Planet)
Australia has so far been denied the experience of the live ‘electric’ Richard Thompson. Not that we have been truly deprived; the live ‘acoustic’ Richard Thompson we have seen several times (although not for seven years) is no mere cut-down version of the main act. As a powerful solo performer he towers over many better-known entities. The Australian shows he performed in tandem with bassist Danny Thompson were exquisite. Having first seen him live at Birmingham Town Hall (UK) in 1977 as the ‘Richard & Linda Thompson Band’ though, I can bear witness to the magic of his electric guitar improvisations that lead many to assert that he is the most important exponent of the instrument performing today. The good news is that in his current compact trio setting, we may see him down-under before the end of this year.
Meanwhile, we have an excellent CD release entitled Electric to enjoy and straight away I will say, get the Deluxe 2-CD version. The title Electric is descriptive of the atmosphere on this set as much as of the content; note there is some outstanding acoustic playing as well. Produced by Buddy Miller at ‘Buddy’s House’ in Nashville, there is collaborative feel from the rousing rhythm section and all the musicians, giving Thompson a sound base from which to begin his music explorations. The tracks range from Celtic-folk to swamp-infused country feels, with contributions by Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Miller on guitar, harmony vocals by Siobhan Maher Kennedy and, on the sublime ‘The Snow Goose’, Alison Krauss. Lyrically, Thompson is at his most accessible, from the ribald opening of ‘Stony Ground’ to the closing country waltz, ‘Saving the Good Stuff for You’. The bonus CD contains 4 more tracks from the sessions at ‘Buddy’s House’ plus 3 tracks from previous releases. A vastly influential and important artist at the top of his game…what are you waiting for? Buy it now!