Friday, June 21, 2013

Richard Thompson - Hand of Kindness

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Hand of Kindness, the third solo album from Richard Thompson from June of 1983. It followed after 1982’s release of Shoot Out the Lights (click here for that review), his final effort with his ex-wife Linda.

Joining Thompson on this one were Aly Bain (violin), John Kirkpatrick (accordion), Dave Mattacks (drums), Simon Nicol (guitar), Dave Pegg (bass), Pete Thomas (saxophone), and Pete Zorn (saxophone and backing vocals). Clive Gregson of Any Trouble also lends his voice to the backing vocals.

Side one opens with “Tear Stained Letter”, an up-tempo Zydeco track about heartbreak and sadness. Thompson’s own guitar plays off the saxophones and the accordions quite well.

After a rousing opening, “How I Wanted To” slows things down with a heartfelt ballad of things left unsaid. It is one I think many listeners can relate to.

The bouncy “Both Ends Burning” is a song about a bum deal of a race horse.

Thompson puts his own spin on a typical blues riff with “A Poisoned Heart and a Twisted Memory”, a song about dealing with the aftermath of a devastated relationship.

Side two begins with “The Wrong Heartbeat”. I like how it blends elements from 60’s R&B with rock, throwing in a touch of reggae to boot.

The title track “Hand of Kindness” is next. The song is about someone contemplating the act of taking his own life, hoping for someone to step in at the last moment and pull him away from the brink.

“Devonside” tells the tale of a couple from two perspectives. Although only four stanzas and one hundred thirty two words, it conveys so much story and emotion. That is a mark of a good song writer.

“Two Left Feet” closes the album on an up-beat, quick step note. The fun song is a guy dismissing a lovely lady just because she cannot dance - clearly a deal breaker for him.

The CD release added one additional track “Where the Wind Don’t Whine”, right in the middle of the group as slot number five. The song likens a relationship to taking on the twists and turns of a road trip; the metaphor for the Thompson marriage ends with the car dying on them.

I had not heard any of the tracks from Hand of Kindness prior to doing this review, and that was most certainly my loss. Just like Shoot Out the Lights last year, I really enjoyed listening to this one by Richard Thompson as well. I like the feel and energy to the music. This is another one I have added to my “pick up soon” list.

1 comment:

HERC said...

I've championed Thompson's work for a while now so it came as a surprise a few years back when people started saying to me "Have you heard that new track by Richard Thompson?" I scoured the web for a new release and it turns out there was none.

One of his songs from 2007's Sweet Warrior album was featured on the third season premiere episode of Sons Of Anarchy in 2010.

This is that song.