Out-of-print in the US. EMI.
Few musical charms compare with those of Richard Thompson's better albums. Mock Tudor
easily ranks amongst them, thanks in part to inventive producers Tom Rothrock and Rob Schnapf, who help strike a melodious balance between Thompson's genre-hopping instrumental subtleties and the gritty rave-ups that characterize his full-flail live shows. Together again with Fairport drummer Dave Mattacks and bassist Danny Thompson
(and with help on guitar and vocals from son Teddy), Thomspon is set free. There's a delightful, modal minisolo on "Sibella"; "Uninhabited Man" finds the former student of Sufism holding down a Led Zep
-ish Eastern groove; and every other song is a subtle, midtempo, sure-fire hit in an alternate universe. Lyrically, Thompson sticks to dark-side-of-the-street subject matter; the majority of the songs describe a relationship gone over the edge or about to (Elvis Costello
is Thompson's only peer when it comes to charming, post-Dylan
misanthropy in song). Women are goddesses ("Cooksferry Queen"), a bad match ("Sibella," "Two-Faced Love"), evil temptresses ("Bathsheba Smiles," "Hard on Me"), and about to dump the protagonist any second now ("Crawl Back Under My Stone")--and that's just the first six songs! In "Cooksferry Queen" when Thompson sings, "People speak my name in whispers--what higher praise can there be," the singer-songwriter might well be describing himself. --Mike McGonigal