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|2. Jealous Words|
|3. Iíll Tag Along|
|4. A Love You Canít Survive|
|5. One Door Opens|
|6. First Breath|
|8. Got No Right|
|9. Pearly Jim|
|10. Sight Unseen|
|11. Outside of the Inside|
|12. Happy Days and Auld Lang Syne|
Musically The Old Kit Bag employs a stripped-down band and back-to-basics production reminiscent of early Fairport and as on those albums acoustic folk instruments ("One Door Opens") here rub shoulders with that inimitable electric guitar ("A Love You Can't Survive", for example). Danny Thompson does his solid thing on double-bass (check out the wonderfully languid "First Breath" and "Got No Right"), while Judith Owen's backing softens Thompson's familiar gruff vocals. Like every Richard Thompson album this one's a grower, but it's well worth the effort. --Mark Walker
This album marks a far more stripped down approach than of late. Backed only by Danny Thompson's fleet-footed bass and solid drums courtesy of Michael Jerome, Thompson shows he's not lost the ability to evoke the bleaker side of the human condition. While the album's title implies the necessary resilience needed to forget one's woes and carry on with the game of life, the songs themselves speak of a life filled with lost loves (''I've Got No Right To Have It All''), bitter regrets (''A Love You Can't Survive'') and people of untrustworthy motives (''Pearly Jim'', ''I'll Tag Along'').
Inexplicably split into two halves: 'The Haunted Keepsake' and 'The Pilgrim's Fancy', this collection of ''Unguents, fig leaves and tourniquets for the soul'' may come with a standard 'olde worlde' folk sleeve but is full of Thompson's skill in taking a contemporary subject matter and placing it within a story-telling tradition. The aforementioned ''A Love You Can't Survive'' is a standard tale of misfortune and twisted fate, but concerns a coke smuggler and the first half's songs are peppered with some of the spikiest six-string mayhem for a good while. Yet songs such as ''Jealous Words'' could come from any of the last two thousand years.
It's this timeless quality that allows Thompson to float above the crowd and stake his claim as a true British classic. He may be working on the West Coast these days and his muse may still reside in Middle England, but Richard Thompson remains a world-beater. --Chris Jones
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The Old Kit Bag gets off to a great start with the dark and brooding Gethsemane and never looks back. There isn't a weak track here, though worthy of mention are the mandolin-driven One Door Opens, First Breath, Word Unspoken Sight Unseen, and Outside on the Inside (apparently about how the Taliban sees the West.)
A really first class collection shows that the man is on top form. Can't wait to see him play live at the Barbican this month!
This taut collection showcases his rocking side with tracks like "Jealous Words" and "A Love You Can't Survive", which are resplendent with his swerving, restless electric guitar lines. His virtuosity puts him in the same league as more celebrated axe heroes like Jimmy Page, and his breaks would not sound out of place on a Led Zeppelin album. Other tracks usher in a more contemplative mood, for example "Gethsemane" and "Word Unspoken, Sight Unseen". He also treats us to his nimble-fingered playing on acoustic guitar and mandolin on tracks like the bright and breezy "One Door Opens" and the gentle "First Breath". His last album "Mock Tudor" was very meaty and "The Old Kit Bag" continues his policy of providing all killer, no filler. Thompson has just unveiled a whole set of new classics on this release.
Perhaps one impact of devolution is a rekindling of interest in British culture, including folk music, in its many forms. Don't expect to see Kylie gyrating around a morris dancing troupe on "Top of the Pops" quite yet (although you never know, it could happen). There are nevertheless serious young artists out there, e.g.Read more ›
Of the songs several stand out - "Gethsemane" with powerful hooks and emotive lyrics paints an evocative picture, "A Love You Can't Survive" hearks back to his very best early material, "One Door Opens" is very sprightly with a Middle-Eastern flavour, "First Breath" sees RT in a jazzy, romantic but ultimately doomed mood, "Word Unspoken, Sight Unseen" really shines with it's theme of redemption through love and faith and "Outside of the Inside" sees RT railing against religious bigotry once more. All the songs are beautifully crafted musically and lyrically and require guenuine involvement on the part of the listener. Who else quotes Van Gogh, Charlie Parker, Einstein and misericords in one lyric?Read more ›