Richard Thompson Albums Ranked

Richard Thompson OBE (born 3 April 1949) is an English singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Thompson first gained prominence in the late 1960s as the lead guitarist and songwriter for the folk-rock group Fairport Convention, which he had co-founded in 1967. After departing the group in 1971, Thompson released his debut solo album Henry the Human Fly in 1972. The next year, he formed a duo with his then-wife Linda Thompson, which produced six albums, including the critically acclaimed I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (1974) and Shoot Out the Lights (1982). After the dissolution of the duo, Thompson revived his solo career with the release of Hand of Kindness in 1983. He has released a total of eighteen solo studio albums. Three of his albums – Rumor and Sigh (1991), You? Me? Us? (1996), and Dream Attic (2010) – have been nominated for Grammy Awards, while Still (2015) was his first UK Top Ten album. He continues to write and record new material regularly and frequently performs live at venues throughout the world. Here are all of Richard Thompson’s albums ranked.

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10. 13 Rivers (2018)

““13 Rivers” finds RT in top form as both songwriter and performer. The songs are catchy and intelligent and the guitar solos ring like a bell. This album continues RT’s streak of late-career gems that peaked with 2015’s Jeff Tweedy-produced “Still.” “13 Rivers” is a MUST HAVE for any self-respecting RT fan and is as good of a place as any for new fans to join the the fold.”

9. Henry The Human Fly (1972)

“This album was the blueprint for all of Thompson’s subsequent 1970’s albums (“Bright Lights”, “Hokey Pokey”, “Pour Down Like Silver”, “First Light” and “Sunnyvista”)and it is of the same high quality, boasting a clutch of his finest songs. It opens with the great ‘crow in a graveyard’ jeer of “Roll Over Vaughn Williams” . The guitar work on this song probably put cramps in the fingers of many who tried to emulate it. The lyrics can be heard as an announcement of Richard’s intentions: “Don’t expect the words to ring too sweetly on the ear..” he warns.”

8. Across A Crowded Room (1985)

“This is certainly one of Thompsons best albums, but there are so many good ones. He has not gained the recognition of other British guitarists, but his guitar skills are extraordinary and he ranks as one of the best. Listen to “Love in a Faithless Country” and try to stop those shivers down your spine. This was written many years before the 2005 London bombings, but could have been written immediately afterwards.”

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7. Hand Of Kindness (1983)

“As a guitar player, he shines the most on this album, and as a singer, even more. Each song is one good one after the other, and if you enjoy it as much as I do, you keep listening to it, day after day. Besides Richard, the production is fabulous, and it helps RT’s talents shine even more.”

6. Still (2015)

Richard Thompson, Still

“My absolute favorite is “No Peace, No End,” a powerful anti-war rocker in the tradition of “I’ll Never Give It Up” from  SWEET WARRIOR (2007). If there was any justice in the world it would be blasting from the radio everywhere. The other best songs, combining great music and lyrics, are the jaunty, cheerful “Beatnik Walking,” a tour of Amsterdam; the uptempo “All Buttoned Up,” about a frustrated lover; and the haunting “Josephine.”

5. You? Me? Us? (1996)

“Throughout the album, Thompson’s guitar work is transcendent. Not simply virtuosic, but an orchestra unto itself. I play the guitar myself semi-professionally, and cannot conceive of doing what Thompson does on this album. Sometimes our lad is plugged into something that is unavailable to the rest of us.”

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4. Mock Tudor (1999)

“Rich has been an incredibly prolific artist, which has been both a blessing and a curse. The former because a fan can count on new product every other year at least. The latter because most of his studio releases contain a dollop or two of filler material. This album holds special standing for me, as it’s the most consistent, and the accompanying tour was my first exposure to Rich as a live tour-de-force.”

3. Amnesia (1988)

“Yes Rumour and Sigh is brilliant but for me this album is my favorite. The songs are tight ,well written and a little more rockier than his previous sets. I picked up a vinyl copy of this the other day and it really sounds nice. After Rumour and Sigh I recommend Amnesia,Froom who produced this just seems to have a feel for Thompson.”

2. Mirror Blue (1994)

“Melodically and lyrically he moves through the rueful introspection of ‘Easy There,Steady Now’ where he compares a truck crash to his own response to the end of a relationship “lost my grip too, for a while”, yet the cynicism of ‘Way That It Shows’ is also tempered with a compassionate undertone to the tale of a woman’s desperation to disguise her fading looks.”

1. Rumor And Sigh (1991)

“Amazing album; so many terrific songs. I love this man. Mother Knows Best is full of rage; Don’s Sit on My Jimmy Shands is fun; didn’t know what Jimmy Shands was; I found out. A full range of emotions and style. And a brilliant guitarist to boot. Love this album.”