AT A glance, this latest Richard Thompson album doesn’t seem much, just a compilation of favourite songs. Yet one listen dispels such doubts, as Thompson pulls 14 songs from his capacious song suitcase, dust them off and offers new, reinvigorated versions.
He starts with I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight, using a more muscular feel to fill the gaps left by Linda’s voice on the original. Other long-distant songs given a vigorous shake-up include Walking On The Wire, Wall Of Death, Down Where The Drunkards roll and a beautiful take on Persuasion (co-written with Tim Finn). His concert favourite, 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, is reborn in the version Thompson says he always wanted to record, feeling that the original missed something.
Nothing missing here at all, because the playing – as on every track – is astonishingly nimble, sinewy and breathtakingly inventive. Beeswing, another concert favourite, is also lovingly revived, while Valerie gets a rhythmic pummelling that works musical wonders. A fantastic diversion all round.