Richard Thompson – Acoustic Classics II (2017)

Posted by on September 2, 2017
in folk


In 2017, Richard Thompson will release Acoustic Classics II + Rarities. A continuation of the Acoustic Classics series, this collection will feature acoustic renderings of classic songs from the RT catalog, including some previously recorded by other singers, some only available in a band format, and some only existing as cover versions.

’s a great idea, cataloguing Richard Thompson’s substantial material into stripped back acoustic versions as a collection; the songs themselves are of such high quality that they’ll be around forever, and we all know that Thompson is a hugely accomplished guitarist. His career is a frightening one, spanning five decades thus far, starting in 1967 with Fairport Convention when the guitarist was in his late teens. We can be thankful then for a compilation series of Thompson’s output and also interested in hearing the songs in a contemporary setting. It’s a reassuring and accessible run so far and a very useful gateway for anybody looking to familiarise themselves with some of the most important song writing in modern British folk history.

This second volume starts by jolting the listener into a slightly jarring ‘She Twists the Knife Again’, from the 1985 solo album Across a Crowded Room, a set susceptible to critics fine-toothing it for cynical details hidden in the lyrics shedding light on Richard’s split with wife Linda. Regardless, it’s the only song on this selection that sits slightly incongruously with the rest; the originally snarling and confident vocal is rather more nervy in the arrangement and the frenetic strum of the acoustic suits the song less well than the Stratocaster in this isolated instance. Interestingly, four songs on, we are treated to ‘A Heart Needs a Home’, from Richard and Linda’s 1975 Hokey Pokey release. The song was considered a catharsis to the rest of the material on that set, but here it sounds pure and beautiful, working far better than the opener, although in an ideal world you would have Linda’s vocal on there, singing the gentle ‘I’m never going to run away’ lyric.

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