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