Action Packed: The Best of the Capitol Years

Action Packed: The Best of the Capitol Years

by Richard Thompson
     
 
Richard Thompson has fused fresh-sounding rock and traditional folk styles for more than three decades, ever since forming British folk-rock pioneers Fairport Convention. His solo work has been marked by his biting lyrics, his searing six-string skills, and his steadfast will to try something new and different with each release.

Overview

Richard Thompson has fused fresh-sounding rock and traditional folk styles for more than three decades, ever since forming British folk-rock pioneers Fairport Convention. His solo work has been marked by his biting lyrics, his searing six-string skills, and his steadfast will to try something new and different with each release. The 19-track Action Packed: The Best of the Capitol Years ably samples songs from his five solo albums for the label and adds three non-LP goodies: the gritty "Mr. Rebound" and the angst-ridden "Fully Qualified to Be Your Man" -- both previously unavailable on CD -- plus a new recording of the subtle ballad "Persuasion," a tune Thompson wrote with Tim Finn and performs here with his son Teddy. Three tracks from 1991's stellar Rumor and Sigh are all essential and revealing -- the twisted rocker "I Feel So Good," the haunting, acoustic "1952 Vincent Black Lightening," and the soulfully painful "I Misunderstood." Likewise, a pair of songs from his first Capitol release, '88's Amnesia, capture two elemental sides to the artist -- the galloping "Turning of the Tide," on which his fretwork rivals that of fellow Brit Mark Knopfler, and the somber acoustic ballad "Waltzing's for Dreamers," one of many wry looks at love here. Other highlights include the delicate "Beeswing" (from '94's Mirror Blue), the electric take on "Razor Dance" (from the 1996 double-disc You? Me? Us?), and the charming portrait "Cooksferry Queen" (both from 1999's Mock Tudor). Action Packed is a strong summation of Thompson's recent solo work; fans wishing to gain a fuller portrait of this talented and charismatic artist will want to check out the triple-disc set Watching the Dark, which includes tracks from his Fairport days, his influential recordings with ex-wife Linda, and his solo work up through Amnesia.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Richard Thompson has been the archetypal critics' favorite since his days with Fairport Convention in the late '60s and early '70s, a guitarist of obvious skill and originality who brings the fingerpicking prowess of folk to electric rock and, increasingly, a literate songwriter whose songs, by turns droll and dour, are sung with authority, but he is also a man seemingly incapable of making any sort of peace with broad commercial appeal. But then, why should he, when record companies have lined up to release his work, even if they ultimately cut him loose after failing to get his account into the black? Thompson has successively signed to large independents Island and Chrysalis (when they were independents), then to major imprints Polydor and Capitol. Beginning in 1988, his Capitol sojourn has been the longest, spanning more than ten years and five regular studio albums, three of which actually nudged into the lower reaches of the charts. Publicity materials for this compilation of that material do not spell out whether he is still signed to Capitol, but the label does seem to be putting some effort into promotion. Certainly, Action Packed is not your typical best-of kiss-off, but rather a well-considered collection drawing on some of the most impressive recordings of Thompson's later career as well as including rarities (the new-to-CD tracks "Mr. Rebound" and "Fully Qualified to Be Your Man" and a previously unreleased live duet between Thompson and his son Teddy on "Persuasion," a lovely song Thompson co-wrote with Tim Finn). Thompson's Capitol catalog has been uneven occasionally, especially because of the inappropriate production style of Mitchell Froom on some of it, but by gathering together the best of each of his albums, Capitol here demonstrates that, especially as a songwriter, he has frequently matched the uncompromising style of his early work, particularly on "Turning of the Tide," "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," "I Misunderstood," "I Feel So Good," and "Beeswing," songs imbued with his dark, folk-informed sensibility, yet buoyed up by his stirring guitar work. If Action Packed marks the end of Thompson's latest label affiliation, it makes a good tombstone; if it is only an interim report, it demonstrates that his talents are undiminished.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/27/2001
Label:
Capitol
UPC:
0724353105129
catalogNumber:
31051

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Richard Thompson   Primary Artist,Dulcimer,Guitar,Mandolin,Keyboards,Vocals,Hurdy-Gurdy
Alistair Anderson   Northumbrian Smallpipes
Clive Gregson   Background Vocals
Simon Nicol   Guitar
Jim Keltner   Drums
Aly Bain   Fiddle
Alex Acuña   Percussion
Peter Adams   Organ,Piano,Wurlitzer
Tchad Blake   Guitar
Christine Collister   Background Vocals
Mickey Curry   Drums
Mitchell Froom   Harmonium,Keyboards
Richard Gates   Bass
Dave Mattacks   Drums
Tom McConville   Fiddle
Lovely Previn   Fiddle
Jerry Scheff   Bass
Pete Thomas   Drums
Danny Thompson   Double Bass
Joey Waronker   Drums
Judith Owen   Background Vocals
Philip Pickett   Shawm
Teddy Thompson   Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Atom Ellis   Bass
David McKelsy   Harmonica

Technical Credits

Big Bill Broonzy   Composer
Richard Thompson   Producer
Cheryl Pawelski   Producer
Tommy Steele   Art Direction
Rob Bowman   Liner Notes
Darren Wong   Art Direction

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