FIVE stars for a ‘best of’ collection? This is so much more than a compilation. As on 2014’s Acoustic Classics, Thompson spins new versions from his back pages, just him and his acoustic guitar, with occasional over-dubbed vocals and some supplementary instrumentation.

Thompson with his Stratocaster is a fearsome electric wonder, but playing unplugged is his greatest strength, stripping the songs to his muscular vocals and astonishing musical fluidity.

Fourteen songs are reworked here, starting with the racing snarl of She Twists The Knife Again. Other sparkling reinventions include Genesis Hall, Pharaoh, Gethsemane and Devonside, along with a return to two Fairport classics, Meet On The Ledge and Crazy Man Michael.

Two sterling Thompson songs wind matters up: Guns Are The Tongues and Why Must I Plead. An automatic buy for fans, but the perfect introduction also for the non-converted. Thompson remains a pearly one-off who hasn't lost an atom of energy in his long years holding a guitar.

Review by Spencer Taylor