Austin City Limits
tends to bring out the best in the musicians it showcases, and Richard Thompson is the sort of artist that the series reveres most. The veteran British folk-rock troubadour remains an instrumental virtuoso, a soulful singer, and a songwriter whose depth and emotional complexity rival Dylan
's. This 15-song set provides neither a career-spanning retrospective nor a greatest-hits rehash, as Thompson's selection of some of his lesser-known material shows that he's incapable of writing a throwaway. The rhythm section of bassist Danny Thompson and drummer Michael Jerome gives his guitar plenty of room to maneuver on the acoustic numbers that dominate the performance before the set builds to the electrifying climax of the lacerating "She Twists the Knife Again" and the explosive "Shoot Out the Lights." On "Uninhabited Man," Thomspon combines a guitar progression that recalls the Byrds
with a lyric that gives a sinister twist to the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, while the pensive, sinuous "Ghosts in the Wind" extends his exploration into the recesses of the psyche. Though Thompson's droll humor typically provides a change-of-pace respite from the dark intensity of his material, this disc edits out all the between-song patter in favor of more music. --Don McLeese
Recommended Richard Thompson Discography
Richard Thompson's 'Live From Austin, Texas' will be a much sought after CD for his many fans. Richard is always an outstanding live performer and to have one of his shows captured by the great Austin City Limits crew makes this a very special release. New West. 2005.