The Old Kit Bag

Veteran singer/songwriter and virtuoso guitarist Richard Thompson does a lot of things better than most specialists: His Anglo-folk laments move as if he were channeling Celtic ghosts, and he can wail

Veteran singer/songwriter and virtuoso guitarist Richard Thompson does a lot of things better than most specialists: His Anglo-folk laments move as if he were channeling Celtic ghosts, and he can wail the blues and crank out old-school rock'n'roll with the best in the business. With his up-and-down Capitol years summed up with the Action Packed anthology from 2001, the former Fairport Convention pioneer returns to the indie route with The Old Kit Bag. He sounds not only refreshed but also emboldened. Stripped-down and muscular with only three musicians in support, this inspired album spotlights the best Thompson songs in years. The poetic, brooding rocker "Gethsemane," the Weill-style cabaret ballad "I've Got No Right to Have It All," and the rootsy raver "I'll Tag Along" are highlights on an album full of them.—BB