This was the first RT album i ever bought, walking past Tower Records in central London i saw a big display in the window. Being a big Fairport fan for many years i knew of Richard but never took the plunge with any of his albums. This one just blew me away, it is so good. I got all of his albums within the next year, and i keep an eye out for his next one. I have seen him live both with fairport and as a solo artist many times. This is one of the best of RT's efforts, if not "the best". Stick it in the car and leave it in for a few days. Wonderful stuff.
I find it odd that people spend time slagging tracks like Psycho Street which is just another facet of the multi-talented genius that is Richard Thompson. Does humour belong in music? Why not? The fact remains that this is an excellent album all round and even if you leave aside the frivolous titles (e.g. Shands and PS) still contains enough stand-out material to shame most songwriters. It's not only his great melodies, clever lyrics and brilliant guitar playing that place RT a cut above most musicians but also his sheer versatility of styles as amply demonstrated on this album through classics such as Vincent Black Lightning, I Misunderstood, Keep Your Distance and many of the other cuts. If you're not familiar with RT's output this is a good place to start. Also try 2002's The Old Kit Bag - another (faultless) classic. And if you get a chance to see him live, jump at it.
Richard Thompson has always been one of England's finest yet most underrated performers. Perhaps it is because alongside the blistering guitar work outs and melancholy acoustic ballads that built his reputation he also has eccentric ditties and shanties. Of course, this is due to his folk heritage and is welcome, but maybe not by newcomers to his back catalogue who are unused to hearing such an ecelectic range of styles on one record. Rumor and Sigh is no exception. Read About Love and Feel So Good are typical guitar rockers that sweep you off your feet but Psycho Street and Jimmy Shands will have you scratching your head in confusion if you were unaware of Thompson's penchant for parody and his scathing lyrical wit. However, there is enough of the great stuff to go round here, and I Misunderstood and Keep Your Distance are still live favourites, while Vincent Black Lightning is simply one of the most astonishing songs ever put to record and something all acoustic guitar lovers must here (or better still, see live). All in all, I don't think this is Thompson's best album, but it has many of his best moments. And because of that, it's pretty much essential.
Thompson at his absolute best! From "Don't sit on my Jimmy Shands" to "1952 Vincent" to "God Loves a Drunk". There isn't a weak track on the whole record. If your considering exploring Thompson back catalogue, then this would be the ideal starting point.
Fantastic album up to Mr Thompsons usual standard, he is a musicians musician and always discovering new tuning and melodies from his early days in Fairport to today, check out Cropredy Festival near Banbury where he plays regular.
This was my first acquintance with RT's work when I bought it 22 years ago. I wasn't dissapointed :) The songwriting is highly varied, from acoustic folk to polka to rock (almost hard rock on a couple of tracks). The melodies are catchy (in a good way, not in a superficial Top 20 kind of way), the lyrics funny, biting or sharp (depending on which song), and the musicianship is at a rare level: this cd has both a great guitar playing and a great band backing him, combining both technique and passion. Some people may be alienated by the stylistic variation, but I feel it's a good thing. Many rock records are far to limited in scope... The closing track, "Psycho street", is kind of weird. It seems like a parody of the title song of a soap opera (i.e. Neighboors). I found it entertaining in it's way, but I sometimes skip it. RT's vocals are the "weak" point perhaps (in a relative sense). He's a better singer than several of his more famous colleagues, at least he has character and sings in tune. But he's not a virtouso singer and his tone is a bit dry. He grew more expressive and confident as a singer over the next years. Still, his vocals are quit good and fits the music, therefore it's not a big complaint. I'd give this 4 1/2 if I could.
I agree with man of the comments of Adam Norsworthy, but would still give it 5 stars for the brilliance of some of the tracks. Richard Thompson has lways has a slightly annoying habit of putting a couple of very forettable tracks on his albums and this is no exception. However, listen to some of the guitar work on the best tracks and realise why many think he is the best guitarist to come out of the UK. His work has real feel to it and it's original.
Astonishingly brilliant: ballads, rock, polkas; wit, twisted humour, despair; reality, dreams and surrealism. Thompson shows his full range here and demonstrates why he is one best songwriters around, and also one of the best guitarists.
I won't repeat what others have said adequately, other than to sing the praises of 'God loves a drunk' as being one of the best songs ever by anyone anywhere :-) . Not only does he do a really good job of it here, he also plays brilliant guitar on Norma Waterson's version of the same song, which is as good as, if not better than, his own version.
If I were on a desert island with 2 songs only, they'd be that and Neil Young's 'Cinnamon Girl'.