Front Parlour Balladsby Richard Thompson
Although he forged his reputation on the British folk scene some decades back, it's been a long while -- 24 years, in fact -- since Richard Thompson recorded an entirely acoustic solo album, a streak that ends with this elegant, wide-ranging disc. Front Parlour Ballads draws a good deal of its character from its surroundings; as the title suggests, it was largely captured in Thompson's own living room, without accompaniment except for two tracks featuring percussionist Debra Dobkin. Her homey banging adds a loose, lubricated tone to "Let It Blow," a wry tale of quickie marriages and hung-over realizations. While most of the disc is decidedly more low-key, Thompson doesn't lapse into maudlin musing. Instead, he infuses songs like "Mutton Street" and "Row Boys Row" -- a wizened tale of music-biz life set to a woozy, half-time sea chantey melody -- with an appropriately medieval blend of whimsy and worry, which meld beautifully on the six strings of his guitar. His character studies are, as ever, both precise and poignant, whether they're expressing affection (the delicately picked, giddily worded "Miss Patsy") or disillusionment (the angular, dissolute "A Solitary Life"). But the disc's real calling card is an intimacy that's akin to being granted a command performance by one of the era's greatest singer-songwriters.
- Release Date:
- Cooking Vinyl
Performance CreditsRichard Thompson Primary Artist,Various
Debra Dobkin Percussion
Technical CreditsRichard Thompson Composer,Audio Production
Simon Tassano Producer,Audio Production
Lou Beach Cover Illustration
Jeff Smith Art Direction
Quattrocchi Art Direction
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The man has done it again. This is just an excellent album. Yes it's accoustic but Richard adopts the "less is more" principal and does it majestically. "A solitary life" might be one of his best songs full stop. Who else could have come up with the line "Dull as the pewter sky over Northwest eleven". Keep your so called "stars" - there is no finer singer/songwriter out there right now. Add that to guitar playing that is magnificent (again) and you have Richard Thompson. Get this album and play it and play it.