Album Review: Richard Thompson – Rarities

Mr Thompson appears to be in somewhat of a golden period as far as recorded material goes currently. It seems like there is something new from the great man every year – and in the case of this ‘Rarities’ album – the second release this year alone!

Rarities is essentially taking the concept of his recent Acoustic Classics records (two albums of reworkings of Thompson’s most well known songs) and reversing it – providing 14 tracks, a number never having been released or recorded by others before, and others from the deepest depths of his huge back catalogue.

Tracks from his early post Fairport output feature here, recordings that undoubtedly sound more mature as you would expect, but also more poignant – almost like a historical document being unearthed when the creator is that much more worldly-wise.

Two lesser known Fairport tracks also make an appearance – both from the Full House album of 1970, and both significantly rearranged. Poor Will and The Jolly Hangman is still unsettling, albeit more of a sparse arrangement – and Sloth – a track that usually runs 10 minutes plus is almost halved in length here, but still sounds class.

Thompson’s originality has always been one of his defining strengths – and yet again on this record we are treated to glimpses of many different musical styles including old music hall, and cabaret, as well as the familiar folk rock he’s most known for. His musicianship as usual is beyond compare, that really goes without saying.

Everything on this record is of the highest order. Is any artist of any genre, from any time as consistent? An argument for many I’m sure – but Thompson rarely puts a foot wrong and for anyone new discovering him for the first time with this record would surely be salivating at the songs deemed as classics!

A mandatory purchase if you’re a fan, and well worth a listen if you’re just a passing admirer. He is one of this countries finest, and long may his output be this frequent.

Pre-order the album HERE

Tracklisting for Acoustic Rarities

1.What If (unreleased)
2.They Tore The Hippodrome Down (unreleased)
3.Seven Brothers (covered by Blair Dunlop)
4.Rainbow Over The Hill (covered by the Albion Band)
5.Never Again (released in 1975 on Richard & Linda Thompson album Hokey Pokey)
6.I Must Have A March (unreleased)
7.I’ll Take All My Sorrows To The Sea (from the orchestral song suiteInterviews With Ghosts)
8.Poor Ditching Boy (released in 1972 on Richard Thompson album Henry The Human Fly)
9.Alexander Graham Bell (unreleased)
10.Sloth (released in 1970 on Fairport Convention album Full House)
11.Push And Shove (unreleased)
12.End Of The Rainbow (released in 1974 on Richard & Linda Thompson album I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight)
13.Poor Will And The Jolly Hangman (released in 1970 on Fairport Convention album Full House)
14.She Played Right Into My Hands (unreleased)

​In addition to releasing Acoustic Classics Vol. II in August, Richard played a glorious Cropredy Festival, celebrating the 50th anniversary of ground-breaking group Fairport Convention, which he co-founded as a teenager in the ‘60s. A hugely popular live performer, Richard looks forward to hitting the road in October for his solo shows:

Serious and UTA present: RICHARD THOMPSON
Plus support Josienne Clarke + Ben Walker

Wed 11 October Brighton Dome
Thu 12 October Guildford G-Live
Fri 13 October Poole Lighthouse
Sat 14 October Bristol Colston Hall
Sun 15 October Cardiff Wales Millennium Centre
Tue 17 October Edinburgh Usher Hall
Wed 18 October Gateshead Sage
Thu 19 October Salford Lowry  SOLD OUT
Sat 21 October Saffron Walden Saffron Hall
Sun 22 October Coventry Warwick Arts Centre
Mon 23 October London Cadogan Hall *EXTRA DATE*
Wed 25 October Sheffield City Hall
Thu 26 October Leicester de Montfort Hall
Fri 27 October Basingstoke Anvil
Sat 28 October Norwich Theatre Royal
Mon 30 October London Bridge Theatre  SOLD OUT

Review by Phil Daniels