Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  And It Don't Stop
  Book Reports
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
  And It Don't Stop
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

Front Parlour Ballads
Cooking Vinyl

Sometimes-spectacular English folk-rocker isn't quite as ageless as he thinks--and neither are his songs

Now 56, Richard Thompson will never surprise us again. He'll be a world-class guitarist in his own Celtic style until arthritis kicks in. He'll wield words more pungently than most world-class guitarists. He'll strain listeners' patience and his own hernia with a melancholy voice only a publicist would deem "sonorous." And he'll be a sardonic sourpuss. The mostly acoustic Front Parlour Ballads' cover illustration claims kinship with genteel forebears who would be startled by his notion of beauty if not his trademark beret. Are the philanderer-dissing "Should I Betray?" or "Miss Patsy," in which he explains his new nose job to his old muse, suitable for today's sitting rooms? Hie thee to the garage, varlet. And lubricate your larynx while you're there.

Blender, Sept. 2005