The Old Kit Bag

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
Like Britain's answer to Neil Young, Richard Thompson is a 50-something rocker whose songs and six-string attack remain as vital today as they were when he was a youth updating folk music with the fire of rock 'n' roll. After more than a decade on Capitol Records, Thompson emerges with the stripped-down, indie-released Old Kit Bag, a set of lean, emotionally rich songs that vibrate with instrumental prowess. Backed only by Danny Thompson on double bass and Michael Jerome on drums and percussion, with harmony vocalist Judith Owen on a few tracks, Thompson is in top form. His dulcimer and mandolin playing positively sing on the Celtic-flavored "One Door Opens," an ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
Like Britain's answer to Neil Young, Richard Thompson is a 50-something rocker whose songs and six-string attack remain as vital today as they were when he was a youth updating folk music with the fire of rock 'n' roll. After more than a decade on Capitol Records, Thompson emerges with the stripped-down, indie-released Old Kit Bag, a set of lean, emotionally rich songs that vibrate with instrumental prowess. Backed only by Danny Thompson on double bass and Michael Jerome on drums and percussion, with harmony vocalist Judith Owen on a few tracks, Thompson is in top form. His dulcimer and mandolin playing positively sing on the Celtic-flavored "One Door Opens," an examination of shattered love, while his trademark guitar work soars on "Jealous Words," on which he delivers some meaty solos. Thompson's songs, too, continue to benefit from his artistry: As always, he unravels affairs of the heart with an expert needle, as on the tuneful "She Said It Was Destiny" and the jazz-tinged meditation "I've Got No Right to Have It All," and here the practicing Muslim steps outside himself on the topical "Outside of the Inside," which views the Western world from the periphery. With a guitar sound as identifiable and evocative as that of contemporaries Mark Knopfler or Pete Townsend, Thompson brings soul, compassion, and grace to The Old Kit Bag, making it far more than a ragtag sack of songs -- these tunes are keepers.
All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Richard Thompson is the sort of artist destined to be a cherished cult item rather than a bona fide star, which at the dawn of the 21st century puts him in an uncomfortable place in the music industry -- being able to reliably sell 100,000 copies of an album makes you too small for a major label, no matter how long they've kept you on the roster. In 2000, after a dozen years with Capitol Records, Thompson's contract was not renewed, and 2003's The Old Kit Bag found him recording for an independent for the first time since 1985. Creatively, this actually turns out to be a good thing; after the periodically excessive and self-conscious production Mitchell Froom imposed on nearly all of Thompson's releases for Capitol, 1999's Mock Tudor, produced by Tom Rothrock and Rob Schnapf found Thompson going for a leaner and liver sound, and with John Chelew at the controls, Thompson follows suit on The Old Kit Bag. Cut in a straightforward and stripped-down manner, with just bassist Danny Thompson, drummer Michael Jerome, and harmony vocalist Judith Owen along for company, The Old Kit Bag captures Thompson in spare but sympathetic circumstances; the performances are strong and confident, without a note or gesture wasted, and Thompson's interplay with his rhythm section is nothing short of superb. While Thompson eases back on the "wow, listen to that!" solos on The Old Kit Bag, his playing is fluid and superbly tasteful throughout, and his subtle overdubs show he's as good an accompanist as a bandleader. And Thompson's songwriting chops are still in superb shape; "A Love You Can't Survive" and "I'll Tag Along" are further meditations on Thompson's favorite theme -- love and life gone wrong -- and "Outside of the Inside" which Thompson introduced on tour as "a song about how the Taliban see the West" is a chilling look inside a man blinded by his culture and his faith and a bit of a surprise coming from a devout Muslim. The Old Kit Bag is Richard Thompson's leanest and most unadorned album since Shoot Out the Lights, and while it isn't an immediate masterpiece like that album, it confirms that this man's work is best-presented at its simplest, and the result is a modest triumph. [Initial copies of the American edition of the album included a bonus disc, featuring two cover tunes -- one of which is a fun version of Prince's "Kiss" -- and an excerpt from a British documentary on Thompson which can be viewed on computers with CD-ROM drives.]
Rolling Stone - Arion Berger
Thompson's taut, literary folk pop is as odd and pleasing as ever.

Thompson's taut, literary folk pop is as odd and pleasing as ever.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/6/2003
  • Label: Cooking Vinyl
  • UPC: 711297012620
  • Catalog Number: 126

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Richard Thompson Primary Artist
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Another RT Gem

    The Old Kit Bag is another fine album from Richard Thompson. He uses a pared down trio on most songs and it gives him room to showcase his guitar. Judith Owen’s background vocals sweeten his voice. Gethsemane, A Love You Can’t Survive, and Outside of the Inside are personal favorites. The running time is 58 minutes + 6 minutes on the bonus CD.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Best Album of 2005, thus far

    without a doubt the best album of 2005. powerful, eclectic, and emotive. richard thompson's prowess and iconic status will only grow from here.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews