Richard Thompson: Acoustic Classics

The folk legend’s live and acoustic Best Of.

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A collection of new, unplugged versions of Richard Thompson’s best-known compositions may not qualify as a ‘proper’ new album, even if it is his new album for Proper.

Of course, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the idea of the folk master taking a moment to glance over his shoulder before rejoining the fray. There is some vulnerability, though, in the idea of re-recording certain songs that were really pretty acoustic to start with. Thompson’s treatments of I Misunderstood, 1952 Vincent Black Lightning and Beeswing, for example, are lovely if you’re finding them for the first time, but if you remember the originals, from albums that aren’t even that old, the concept becomes a mite contentious. He also revisits a number of songs from the era of his first marriage. Coupled with a vocal style that sometimes lacks nuance on more strident songs, one can’t help looking for Linda, as another song went, especially on Walking On A Wire and I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight. One Door Opens and the gorgeous Persuasion are more successful, underscoring his guitar dexterity, as does the deliciously brooding Shoot Out The Lights.** PS**

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Paul Sexton

Prog Magazine contributor Paul Sexton is a London-based journalist, broadcaster and author who started writing for the national UK music press while still at school in 1977. He has written for all of the British quality press, most regularly for The Times and Sunday Times, as well as for Radio Times, Billboard, Music Week and many others. Sexton has made countless documentaries and shows for BBC Radio 2 and inflight programming for such airlines as Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific. He contributes to Universal's uDiscoverMusic site and has compiled numerous sleeve notes for the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and other major artists. He is the author of Prince: A Portrait of the Artist in Memories & Memorabilia and, in rare moments away from music, supports his local Sutton United FC and, inexplicably, Crewe Alexandra FC.