Thompson Richard

Richard Thompson – Sweet Warrior


For an artist as prolific as Richard Thompson, it’s amazing that he’s managed to maintain the quality and consistency of his solo output over 35 years; a quick glance at a list of his releases shows around 30 discs, and there aren’t many in there that don’t hold up well today.  ‘Sweet Warrior’ doesn’t disappoint, and is his best album since 1999’s ‘Mock Tudor’ or possibly even ‘Rumor & Sigh’ from the early 90s.

It’s also his first ‘electric’ collection of songs for a while, with his distinctive electric guitar style forming the backdrop to most of the 14 songs; this gives the songs a much different feel to his acoustic work, and it really suits the focus of the lyrics which have a combative theme running throughout as he tackles the troubles of both love and war.
He’s put together a superb group of musicians including long time collaborator Danny Thompson (double bass), Taras Prodaniuk (electric guitar), Michael Jerome (drums), Nickel Creek's Sarah Watkins (violin), Michael Hayes (guitar) and Judith Owen (backing vocals) between them they create the perfect backdrop for the excellent lyrics.
He has always used his vocals well, and while technically he’s not the best singer, there are few who can match the emotion and passion he puts in; the songs here cover a variety of issues and situations, and the way he adapts his delivery and vocals to suit each one is exceptional.

With 14 songs running at almost 70 minutes it gives the album chance to develop with a good variety and range of songs from the edgy rock of ‘I’ll Never Give It Up’ to the beautifully understated ‘She Sang Angels to Rest’.

The highlights come from the full range styles, ‘Dad’s Gonna Kill Me’ is a striking comment on the Iraq War from a soldier’s point of view; ‘Johnny’s Far Away’ is a memorable study on fidelity (or the lack of it!), and ‘Guns are the Tongues’ is an epic piece that sums up the whole album perfectly and definitely a future Thompson classic.
There’s much to enjoy on ‘Sweet Warrior’ and the balance is just about right with the darker songs fitting well with one or two lighter pieces, and, as ever, the musicianship and songwriting is of the very highest quality throughout.

While any Richard Thompson disc is going to attract attention, this is an excellent album that deserves to sit somewhere near the top of his overall output – very highly recommended.


Thompson Richard

CD (Cat No: 13244)

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