Sometimes even a legend just wants to have fun. Having gradually achieved his lofty position as a titan of British folk-rock and as one of Britain's finest songwriters, period, Richard Thompson allows his instincts as a sublime guitarist to dominate this casually brilliant double album. Separated into distinct electric and acoustic programs, the "voltage-enchanced" Disc 1 gives us generous doses of a rockin' Richard, featuring some of his most extroverted string-bending in years and some terrific songs, capped by "Razor Dance" and an acid "Put It There Pal." On the "nude" second disc, Thompson unplugs to reel off some of the most beautiful guitar filigree and keening acoustic leads imaginable, focusing on a program largely devoted to ballads. As always, his ability to couple timeless musical forms with trenchant commentary gives these songs power--try the closing "Woods of Darney," set during World War I, which combines an antiwar message, a love song, and a ghost story in its concise verses. --Sam Sutherland
Out-of-print in the US. EMI.