His career is legendary, his music revered and his compositional skills rewarded often - Richard Thompson never seems to stop writing and performing while his status and integrity has remained intact since the '60s. He still hasn't reached his peak - his peak seems to be his entire career. Just how does he do it?
It's 'deep breath' time - his catalogue includes numerous Fairport Convention albums such as the acclaimed "Liege And Lief" and "Unhalfbricking", a clutch of collaborative (with ex-wife Linda) albums such as "I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight", "Shoot Out The Lights", all followed by a wealth of majestically crafted solo sets that began with a curiosity (1972's "Henry The Human Fly") and has continued with "Rumor and Sigh", "Mock Tudor" and this year's "Cabaret of Souls". Whoever has the task of rounding that lot up for a future box-set, deserves a knighthood. And yet, Richard Thompson is completely alien to singles-buyers - he's not so much as had a sniff of a hit, not that this matters in the slightest. Since 1985, Thompson's albums have always achieved a Top 100 placing, not least his last album, "Dream Attic", a #20 hit no less.
Next year will see Thompson celebrate the release of "Electric", an album recorded earlier this year during the 40th anniversary of his aforementioned ill-fated debut-album and due for issue in 2013. The title of the album might lend a hand in assuming Thompson's new direction - he's got himself plugged in and, to coin a phrase, funked up. He's described "Electric" as
surprisingly funky, sort of a new genre - folk-funk. It's quite snappy, somewhere between Judy Collins and Bootsy Collins.
Perhaps his stint as Meltdown director in 2010 has rubbed off on his already encyclopaedic knowledge of global sounds, who knows. It certainly makes his 2013 UK tour an enticing prospect.
The first 2013 calling point for one of Rolling Stone magazine's Top 20 Guitarists in the World will be Cardiff on 20th February, followed by Birmingham, Brighton and many more until Salford on 10th March. There is a Shepherd's Bush show in there somewhere (25th Feb) with tickets due on sale from Friday 9th November onwards. Prices are £25 - £27.50.