Richard Thompson – ‘Acoustic Classics Vol. II’ reviewed

Richard Thompson blazes with passion as he revisits 14 classics from his catalogue.

Acoustic covers albums by the original artists fill me with trepidation. They tend to swing between dinner-party muzak and outright embarrassments such as Eric Clapton’s gormless redux of Layla. Thankfully, that’s not the way the legendary Richard Thompson plays it, though. The cuts on this follow up to 2014’s original Acoustic Classics blazes with passion, as Thompson attacks his guitar with all the intensity of a young, angry punk rocker and the skill of a maestro. His vocals are close to an anguished howl in places, but still have their trademark warmth as well; age doesn’t yet seem to have visited Thompson’s whiskey-and-comfortable-duvet of a voice.

On this disc, he revisits 14 classics from his catalogue reaching all the way back to the late ’60s and Fairport Convention’s Meet on the Ledge; songs originally played with full bands or given to other artists to record. But everything here stands almost as an ultimate statement on the intent of the songwriter – with just his heavy acoustic guitar and that plaintive, emotive voice, the depth of these songs blaze with clear bright meaning, heart and soul. Don’t mistake this for gentle folk – this rocks. Hard.

Acoustic Classics Vol. II is released on 11 August, 2017, by Beeswing distributed via Proper Music.  Richard will play Cropredy Festival in August, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Fairport Convention and tour the UK in October. A second album Acoustic Rarities will be released later in the year featuring new recordings of some of the more obscure songs in the Thompson catalogue, some previously existing only as cover versions.

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