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Saturday, 9 September 2017
RICHARD THOMPSON - ACOUSTIC RARITIES (Beeswing CD, D/L).
It’s been 50 years since Richard Thompson first emerged as a fresh faced teenage guitar prodigy, spitting out fiery lead lines on stage at the UFO Club with Fairport Convention. Regarded as one of the finest songwriters of his generation, through his work with Fairport Convention as they evolved from a very English version of Jefferson Airplane into one of the most important British Folk Rock bands of the 60s, the wonderful records he recorded with his then wife Linda and his long distinguished solo career that followed, Thompson has been recently revisiting his extensive back catalogue of songs, recording stripped back acoustic versions of his best known work. Released in 2014, Acoustic Classics contained a selection of some of his best known songs from his post Fairport albums with the recent, critically lauded, Vol. II going further back and including acoustic versions of ‘Meet On The Ledge’ and ‘Genesis Hall’ among the tracks.
Recorded as a companion piece to the Acoustic Classics albums, Acoustic Rarities is a collection of new recordings of some of the more obscure songs in the Thompson catalogue, some previously existing only as cover versions……………included here are Thompson’s own take on ‘Rainbow Over The Hill’, a song gifted to The Albion Band, and ‘Seven Brothers’, previously covered by Blair Dunlop. Still possessing one of the most distinctive English Folk Rock voices and sparkling guitar skills undiminished by time, Richard Thompson breathes new life into songs first recorded over 40 years with a pair from the Fairport Convention album Full House (‘Sloth’ and ‘Poor Will And The Jolly Hangman’), an acoustic reworking of ‘Poor Ditching Boy’ from Thompson’s under rated debut solo album Henry The Human Fly and brilliant versions of two of his finest songs recorded with Linda Thompson……………..at the time of their release in the mid 70s when Thompson was still in his mid twenty’s, ‘End Of The Rainbow’ and ‘Never Again’ felt incredibly cynical, but now with his seventieth birthday on the horizon, they are songs that have seasoned as their writer has aged. Let’s be honest, with Richard Thompson’s most recent recordings being pledge funded by his large, hardcore fanbase and with at least half this album made up of previously unreleased songs, it is clear that this record and the Acoustic Classics albums are aimed clearly at existing fans of this most enduring of artists…………if you are looking for a “young person’s guide to Richard Thompson” you really need to be looking elsewhere. Along with both volumes of Acoustic Classics, Acoustic Rarities is an essential purchase for fans of early Fairport Convention and Thompson’s work since he set off on his own idosincratic path at the start of the 70s.
Released on Thompson’s own Beeswing imprint via Proper Distribution, Acoustic Rarities is available on CD and as a download. Available to pre-order on Amazon with a due release date of 06/10/17 and then available from proper record shops.