is a collection that's been long overdue. A brilliant, albeit subtle, guitar genius, Richard Thompson writes wonderful songs that are sometimes rocking, sometimes haunting and sometimes a little bit of both. And he presents them all in a voice that can only be called unique. Unlike most guitar heroes, Thompson is less based in the blues than he is in folk--dating back to his early years with the seminal Fairport Convention
--but his has always been a folk music with bite and soul, adding things to the folk lexicon like rockabilly and zydeco. "Cooksferry Queen"--one of the 19 tracks on this compilation culled from the six albums Thompson released on Capitol between 1988 and 1999--features a guitar solo that's downright punk. Tracks such as the semi-hit "I Feel So Good", "Razor Dance" and "Bathsheba Smiles" remain as exhilarating as anything you're apt to hear. Longtime fans will need to hear the three tracks previously unreleased on CD, including a new duet with son Teddy Thompson
on "Persuasion" (cowritten with Tim Finn) that is absolutely gorgeous. Ultimately, one longs for a box set that encompasses all eras (and labels) of this master's career, but Action Packed
proves that the recent last third of it has been top-notch. --Bill Holdship
Ex-Fairport Convention guitarist Richard Thompson is one of the few '60s rockers to remain vital and relevant into the '80s and '90s, and this new 19-track collection chronicles his work for Capitol, where he's recorded since the late '80s. Includes an unreleased track and two others never on CD in the U.S., plus Turning of the Tide; Waltzing's for Dreamers; King of Bohemia; The Ghost of You Walks; Razor Dance (voltage enhanced); Cold Kisses; Cooksberry Queen , and more. A true guitar hero!