Richard Thompson - 'Electric'

by AlexJackson
AlexJackson
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on 04 February 2013 in Albums & EPs
Record Label Proper Records
Rating 7/10

From Richard Thompson’s hand-picked Meltdown Festival at the Southbank Centre in 2010, you realised just how broad the songwriter’s tastes and appreciation were, not only in influence, but in many of the contemporary artists he has inspired. This has been a notable truth throughout his career and staggering roster of 40 albums. He has never sat still and while bands come and go, one of the finest guitarists of all time continues to experiment and innovate at every turn. On his previous album ‘Cabaret of Souls’ touted by many as one of his finest records to date, he took the bold step of recording new songs live. This if anything only helped further enhance his sound. Now back only a year on with the guitar driven ‘Electric’ he has upped the ante once again. In a typical versatile Thompson way we have a blend of many different styles, in which he jokingly describes as “snappy folk-funk fitting somewhere between Judy Collins and Bootsy Collins.” Quips aside, it is one of his most direct albums in years that features an array of star-studded guest appearances and rollicking rhythms. Recorded in Nashville under the very able hands of Buddy Miller (Solomon Burke, Emmylou Harris) ‘Electric’ bursts into life with opener ‘Stony Ground’s’ Celtic tinged folk and insistent handclaps. It is a worthy start to any record and is closely followed by the gently melodic ‘Salford Sunday’. ‘My Enemy’ is a tender ballad and is just one of many featuring English singer-songwriter Siobhan Maher Kennedy’s backing vocals. Lead single ‘Good Things Happen to Bad People’ is quite easily one of the best things here with its thumping chorus and guitar lines. ‘Snow Goose’ is traditional Thompson with guest vocals provided by Alison Krauss and doesn’t sound too dissimilar to her collaborations with Robert Plant. The oft described “perennial dark horse” has done it again and long may his career continue to blossom gracefully 40 years on from his debut.

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