Richard Thompson 

Dream Attic

In 1967, 18-year-old guitarist Richard Thompson joined the British electric folk outfit Fairport Convention. Since splitting with the group in 1971, Thompson has become one of the world's more steadily prolific musicians. Those who have heard anything from his 40-plus discography are familiar with his clever lyrics, his booming baritone vocals and, above all else, his transfixing guitar solos.

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On Dream Attic, Thompson combines all his distinctive elements and takes them even further by recording live with his four-piece, never-miss-a-beat backing band. The result is something that should not only please every Thompson fan, but also convert those who have somehow managed to not yet hear him.

"The Money Shuffle" opens the album with Thompson's typical wry, social commentary lyrics sung alongside his masterful hybrid flat-picking guitar work. One never really senses they're listening to a live album, but rather a fully produced studio work; the quality of the recording and the precision of the playing are that good. With tracks like the diabolical sea-chanty "Sidney Wells" and the climactic closer "If Love Whispers Your Name," the 61-year-old Thompson has never sounded so lively, his solos so dizzying. And, by the looks of it, he has plenty of miles left.

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