Richard Thompson

More Guitar

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While plenty of fans will tell you that Richard Thompson is one of the most consistently dazzling guitarists you're likely to see on a stage, even the greats have some nights that are better than others, and it's our good fortune that someone had a DAT machine rolling on the evening in 1988 when Thompson and his band played the firestorm of a set preserved on More Guitar. One of the tracks on this album, a nine-minute workout on "Can't Win," was previously released as an example of Thompson's live prowess on the box set Watching the Dark, and most of More Guitar is every bit as jaw-dropping as that stellar performance. The set list is strong, concentrating on the then-current Amnesia while also paying a few visits to gems from the back catalog (including a surprising version of Henry the Human Fly's "The Angels Took My Racehorse Away") and a pair of choice covers. The band is one of Thompson's better road units, with the always welcome John Kirkpatrick on accordion, Clive Gregson and Christine Collister adding lovely harmonies, and drummer Kenny Aronoff driving the show like a locomotive. But the real draw of this disc is hearing Thompson go gloriously nuts on electric guitar, and his frenzied down stroking on "Don't Tempt Me," the over-the-top string bends and modal insanity of "Gypsy Love Songs," and ominous Stratocaster gunfire of "Shoot out the Lights" are manna from heaven for fans of the man's electric work. And even the most subdued numbers on this set display a passionate emotional intensity that's gripping and beautiful. In short, this was unexpectedly a show for the ages, and More Guitar allows Thompson fanatics to hear it at their leisure. Those who enjoy the more pastoral side of his music may be a bit put off, but if you love to hear him rock out, you've got to hear this disc, and that's that. (More Guitar has been released by Thompson's boutique label Beeswing Records.

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