Richard Thompson

Ever discover an artist that somehow you think you should have heard about years ago? Maybe a decade or two ago? Well on the fortieth anniversary of his debut solo album comes “Electric” recorded earlier in 2012, which is due for release on February 11th.

Describing his album as a folk funk, and “quite snappy, somewhere between Judy Collins and Bootsy Collins”, not only does it have great guitar work, a hint of Fleetwood Mac, but there is an air of quality that betrays the very short time it took to record. It was recorded in Nashville, but conjures up the UK brilliantly with it’s modern day Tales on life. “Stuck On The Treadmill” opens with a baseline akin to Mike Oldfield, with its short punchy guitar work providing that strong funky rhythm and a solid intro to the album, whilst focusing on the working class work and lifestyle.

While the themes moving between modern life, and love, there is a blues feel to the lyrics, underpinned by that Folk-Funk bass. The folk and celtic influences are here without a doubt, but the depth added by the “funk” element works a treat. The flip side of all this is that you could easily imagine the tracks being performed acoustically in a quiet bar. Whilst “My Enemy” is exceedingly laid-back, almost new-age’ish in the soundscape, whilst the vocals gently tell the tale of two enemies, and how they need each other.

The cautionary tale in “Straight and Narrow” telling the tale of women who’s heart is made of stone, with it’s organ work providing an interesting dimension to the guitar work.

Richard Thompson

With the bonus disc with the album you get another few tracks, of which you will be treated to a track that is dark, and worthy of Nick Cave, in the form of “Auldie Riggs”, the story of a sailor who has strangled a poor woman. Not to mention the almost slightly disturbing tic-tac man (I have yet to work out what it is about!).

I am unable to draw any comparisons to previous work, but the strong guitar work, tight production, and the fluidity and ease that it all fits together certainly backs up all his accolades. There will be a few tracks people might find weak, but what fun would there be if we all liked the same thing?

There is a lot going on making the album hard to pin down, it is folk funk on the surface, the lyrics would not be out of place on a blues album, and some of the guitar work shows that rock heritage.

It is easy to see why Richards was awarded the BBC Lifetime Achievement Award, and Rolling Stone has hailed him as “a perennial dark horse contender for the title of greatest living rock guitarist”, which punching through the folk and funk surface becomes apparent and justified. This is the latest album from someone who has been at it 45 years, and shows no signs of letting up.

To coincide with the album release is also a tour of the UK and the USA.

Track Listing
Stony Ground
Salford Sunday
Sally B
Stuck on the Treadmill
My Enemy
Good Things Happen to Bad People
Where’s Home?
Another Small Thing in Her Favour
Straight and Narrow
The Snow Goose
Saving the Good Stuff for You

UK Dates
Feb 20 St. David’s Hall, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Feb 21 Symphony Hall, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Feb 22 Brighton Dome, Brighton, United Kingdom
Feb 23 Colston Hall, Bristol, United Kingdom
Feb 24 Corn Exchange, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Feb 25 O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London, United Kingdom
Feb 26 Barbican, London, United Kingdom
Feb 28 Usher Hall, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Mar 01 Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Mar 02 City Hall, Sheffield, United Kingdom
Mar 03 The Sage Gateshead, Gateshead, United Kingdom
Mar 04 The Irish Centre, Leeds, United Kingdom
Mar 06 Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Mar 07 De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-On-Sea, United Kingdom
Mar 08 Anvil Arts, Basingstoke, United Kingdom
Mar 09 St. Albans Arena, St. Albans, United Kingdom
Mar 10 The Lowry, Salford, United Kingdom

Words by Jon “I think I have seen him live, many many years ago”.

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