Acoustic Classics II
Yes, sure the very best songs – the “classics” were covered by Thompson on the first volume but in many ways this second volume is a more rewarding listen. His fans love (almost) everything he’s done anyway, and Thompson is making records only for himself and his fans. But to hear relative obscurities within his canon (1983’s Devonside, 1988’s Pharoah) treated with the same sincerity and expert skill as material from way back in the earliest Fairport Convention days (Genesis Hall) and songs from more recently (2003’s Gethsemane) is to showcase just how great Thompson is, not only as writer and player (the playing bit is obvious, he’s the world’s greatest NON-Guitar Hero after all) but as a singer. His voice – acquired taste is what people say when hopeful in their sharing of his work to the non-believers – has not changed. It’s as consistent and clear as ever, which means that songs across 50 years can be lined up (as they are here) and it feels like a new set of material honed and shaped for just now.
This really is no mean feat.
And yes, that acoustic guitar is clarion-clear and lovely, exquisite as it sits beneath the voice on Bathsheba Smiles, enchanting as it winds around itself and a mandolin line on Guns Are The Tongues, and sprightly across this version of She Twists The Knife Again.
The Ghost of You Walks, Jet Plane In A Rocking Chair, A Heart Needs A Home…
I say the ‘best’ songs were already used on volume one but really there’s plenty of proof here that a volume three and four could arrive in the next year or two and be just as welcomed.
He remains a class act. And these solo renditions of back-catalogue gems are a must-hear for his fans.