Action Packed: The Best of the Capitol Years

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
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...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
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.
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/27/2001
  • Label: Capitol
  • UPC: 724353105129
  • Catalog Number: 31051
  • Sales rank: 49,005

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
Ron McMaster Mastering
Cheryl Pawelski Producer
Tom Rothrock Mastering
Tommy Steele Art Direction
Rob Bowman Liner Notes
Darren Wong Art Direction
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