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Action Packed: Best of the Capitol Years

Richard ThompsonAudio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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performance of "Haul Me Up" with Greeting


No artist to emerge in the second half of the ’60s has gone on to have a more productive and vital career than Richard Thompson. The England-born, L.A.-based artist has amassed an astounding body of work comprising more than 40 albums, containing artfully shaped material that seamlessly and expressively integrates traditional and contemporary modes. And Thompson is among the most ... Read more in Amazon's Richard Thompson Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Capitol
  • ASIN: 5555933819
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard Thompson -- Genius March 27, 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Richard Thompson is one of the most gifted musicians and songwriters of the past 40 years, but remarkably (and for reasons that defy understanding) he is largely unknown other than to a devoted coterie of fans and to a slew of serious musicians in the know (Bonnie Raitt, David Byrne, Los Lobos, Michael Stipe, Bob Mould). This new collection, which covers the past 12 years of his 35 year career, is a fine introduction to an incomparable talent.
It's hard to compare him to anyone, because his talents are so broad and his sound so distinctive. (The Amazon review of this disc invokes Eric Clapton, but that comparison does a disservice to Thompson -- Clapton, as we all know, is a fine guitarist, but he isn't in the same league as Thompson as a singer or songwriter, and he lacks the originality, wit, fire, darkness, richness, complexity and depth that are hallmarks of the Thompson sound.) Thompson is also unlike his peers in that, at the age of 50+, he continues to crank out records that sound fresh and bold, most recently the wonderful "Mock Tudor."
He has been around for a long time -- in the 60s he was a young guitar prodigy with the legendary Fairport Convention, before embarking on a brilliant solo career that included session work for the late, great Nick Drake and a series of magical albums with his ex-wife Linda culminating in the magnificent "Shoot Out the Lights". (The recent "Best of Richard and Linda Thompson" is a decent introduction to this period.) His extraordinarily fertile Capitol period began with 1989's "Amnesia" and concluded with his most recent release, "Mock Tudor." The enduring mystery is how a talent like this can have eluded the ears of so many over the years.
What makes the guy so great?
Read more ›
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Two of my favorite artists are Bruce Cockburn and Richard Thompson. They are both gifted guitarists and songwriters who have been producing superb music for the past thirty years and neither one of them could get arrested if they marched naked in Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade! Unfortunately, both artists--now in their fifties--are probably doomed to the artistic purgatory of being critis' darlings and cult favorites. And that's a shame.
Thompson's Action Packed: The Best of the Capitol Years (which follows in the footsteps of last year's well assembled The Best of Richard & Linda Thompson: The Island Years) samples all five of his Capitol albums from 1988's Amnesia through 1999's excellent Mock Tudor.
I bought this CD for two reasons. One, I already own everything Thompson has ever released, including his live recordings only available through the Richard Thompson newsletter Flypaper. But most of my purchases prior to 1996 were either vinyl or cassette. It's nice to have these recordings on CD. Two, you get one new track, "Persuasion," which features his son Teddy on guitar and shares lead vocals. [Based on this song alone, I'd like to see them do an entire album together.] In addition, you get two tracks, "Mr. Rebound" and "Fully Qualified To Be Your Man," which were both previously available only on the vinyl release of Mock Tudor. And with concert favorites like "Turning of the Tide," "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" and "Beeswing," you get a generous 19-track sampling of Thompson's music of the past thirteen years. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seems random... November 3, 2001
Format:Audio CD
I'm a huge Richard Thompson fan, I own all the albums and also the far better (out of print) collection, "Watching the Dark". I bought this to get the three "new" tracks, whick range from good to great, so I guess I got my money's worth.
I really must take issue with the track selection, though. For instance, it includes only 2 tracks from "Amnesia"... sure, "turning of the tide" and "waltzing's for dreamers" are great, but almost any other song on the original album is better (that's how good it is). I certainly would have liked more tracks from "You? Me? Us?", and less tracks from "Mock Tudor". It's not that I don't like "Mock Tudor", but (a) It's very recent and maybe doesn't need such heavy representation in a retrospective yet, and (b) is a semi-"concept" album that works much better as a whole.
The sound is audibly and obviously improved on tracks from "Amnesia" through "Mirror Blue" which is remarkable proof how much more engineers have been able to eek out of the old' 16-bit redbook CD format in recent years. On later tracks, the difference is either subtle or non-existent.
Maybe it seems that I'm being a bit hard on this CD, but, as the man said, you have to be cruel to be kind. I think RT is one of the great musical talents of the past 50 years, and he deserves better. Much better. Also, remember, Capitol dropped him from the label after "Mock Tudor", so "Action Packed" is a last-ditch, crass cash-in on the part of his old label. Of course, Capitol has let most of these albums go out of print, so newcomers may have no other recourse but to buy this set.
Another suggestion? RT sells wonderful "live" discs on his own label. Find these and buy them. "2 letter words", "Live at Crawley" and "Celtshmerz" will all give you a more complete picture of this brilliant guitarist.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A UNIQUE VOICE
I have always been somewhat ambivalent about Richard Thompson. But then I happened to see him performing Woodstock on a Joni Mitchell tribute and I decided to try again. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Ken Handel
5.0 out of 5 stars When Thompson was on a roll
In 1988, Capitol took a roll of the dice and signed Richard Thompson to an American record deal. Thompson had several brushes with success, and had skipped across several smaller... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Tim Brough
5.0 out of 5 stars Stories
Incredible player. Awesome storyteller. Brilliant writing and singing. If 52 Vincent weren't enough, you have Bees Wings as well!!
Published 15 months ago by Bruce M. Harling
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Richard Thompson
This is a greatest hits album from one of the best music makers and guitarist of my lifetime. Having followed him since Fairport Convention, he always is evolving and... Read more
Published 16 months ago by ram
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone...
but it is for me. Great guitarist (I can only dream to be 1/4 as good)unique song-writer and singer, a true original. Read more
Published on February 20, 2012 by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars not another Eric Clapton!
I gave this 2 stars because my computer won't play samples and I purchased the CD only on reviews. If I had listened to the CD I would of moved on to real talent! Read more
Published on November 23, 2009 by G. Luker
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best solo artists ever
this guy was actually my second concert ever (the first was The Melvins). the collection is nearly flawless and to really appreciate RT you need to see him live and get into his... Read more
Published on October 14, 2007 by Joseph Broze
5.0 out of 5 stars One new thing..................................
If you are a loyal RT fan and possess "Rumor and Sigh", "Mirror Blue" and all the rest perhaps the only reason you have to lay your hard earned down is "Persuasion" the only... Read more
Published on March 12, 2007 by Brian Naughton
5.0 out of 5 stars Good 90s Summary
If there are low points in Richard Thompson's long and distinguished career, I've yet to hear them. While I'm not one of his devotees, I'd readily admit that all albums without... Read more
Published on September 20, 2006 by R. J MOSS
3.0 out of 5 stars Fans can never be objective...
From the OBJECTIVE suggest Eric Clapton is more famous because of marketing mean some reviewer has too much wax in his ears. Read more
Published on April 25, 2006 by Scott A. Eriksson
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