Richard Thompson

Guitar, Vocal

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A superb 68-minute collection of obscure and unreleased tracks from Thompson's career, covering late 1967 until April 1976. The album's first six tracks are devoted to Thompson's career with Fairport Convention -- highlights include "Throwaway Street Puzzle" (the B-side of the single "Meet on the Ledge"), the BBC recording of "Mr. Lacey," the Liege and Lief session outtake "The Ballad of Easy Rider," the Full House session outtake "Poor Will and the Jolly Hangman," and "Sweet Little Rock 'N' Roller" from the L.A. Troubadour (House Full) concert tapes. Thompson plays some sizzling guitar on these cuts, though "Ballad of Easy Rider" -- played here the way Dylan might've covered it on John Wesley Harding -- is more representative of Sandy Denny than Thompson. The post-Fairport material includes an alternate arrangement of "A Heart Needs a Home" from Hokey Pokey, a beautifully sung live rendition of "The Dark End of the Street" (featuring one of Linda Thompson's best performances); their hard-rocking live rendition of Jack Clement's "It'll Be Me"; the exquisite solo acoustic guitar instrumental "Flee as a Bird"; and two epics, "Night Comes In" and "Calvary Cross," featuring Thompson and his band stretching out on-stage. Despite the existence of the triple-CD career retrospective, this disc still has enough prime rarities to rate as a must-own, even for casual fans.

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