Richard Thompson Electric

Richard ThompsonElectric
As one of the world's most inventive guitarists, a minor quibble among Richard Thompson fans is that there aren't enough flashes of that brilliance on his albums. There's not much to complain about in that regard on Electric, Thompson's first collaboration with producer Buddy Miller, no slouch himself with the six-string. Sonically, it's an ideal pairing, as Miller captures the 63-year-old British folk-rock legend in a lively setting, backed by the equally adept rhythm section of drummer Michael Jerome and bassist Taras Prodaniuk. From opener "Stoney Ground," Thompson doesn't hold back, using his Stratocaster to tear a strip off the song's intended target: dirty old men pursuing young women. The same effect is achieved on "Sally B" and "Stuck on the Treadmill," two more typical, potent portraits of people coping with poor life decisions. Even in quieter moments, such as "My Enemy," Thompson's guitar is at the forefront, weaving dark melodies rooted in his ancient English folk inspirations. Unlike most of his peers, Thompson is defying the march of time, continuing to write and perform at an exceptional level. Electric easily deserves a place alongside his best solo releases. (New West)