Picks and Pans Review: Hand of Kindness
In one of the year's most exhilarating excursions, Richard Thompson—once lead guitarist of the influential British folk-rock band Fairport Convention-pursues his unique musical hybrid. His basic sensibility is that of a rock 'n' roller (Jerry Lee Lewis and Buddy Holly were early idols), but he also values the traditional folk" idioms of the British Isles, and he combines them all memorably. With its romping brass and accordion introduction, Tear Stained Letter, for instance, conjures up the euphoria of a Scottish reel while kicking out like a demon in blue suede shoes. Varied in mood and deeply felt, the album draws directly (as in Tear Stained Letter) or obliquely (as in Devon Side) on Thompson's split last year with his longtime marital and musical partner, Linda Thompson. Folk rock is making a comeback on both sides of the Atlantic, but Richard Thompson is riding only his own bandwagon, and his act is well worth catching.