Strict Tempo! Richard Thompson


Ace Records
Catalogue Id:
CDCHD 1321

The young Richard Thompson did not have to travel far in the 50s and 60s to soak up a plethora of musical influences. He had the nearby Whetstone folk club where he got early exposure to the thriving melting pot of traditional and contemporary folk strands that caused excitement and argument in equal measurement at the time. Even before that local suburban journey, he had listened to the wireless and investigated his policeman father’s rich record collection. Whilst I easily recall Jimmy Shand’s ‘Bluebell Polka’ on Children’s Favourites, Thompson was already digging much deeper into swing, polkas, reels, ballads, waltzes, jigs and sundry other dance tunes.

His early days with Fairport Convention did not allow much space for these influences, although there were moments, as with the atmospheric ‘The Lord Is In This Place’ on their second album, but once he had begun to build his solo career he was able to look back properly with this instrumental LP from 1981. Working with just the assistance of drummer Dave Mattacks, also from a dance band tradition, Richard played and overdubbed all the other instruments on a TEAC 8-track. That it was a labour of love is evident on every track, as he mixes electric and acoustic guitars with banjo, mandolin, mandocello, dobro, harmonium and hammered dulcimer to produce a joyous set of a dozen intricately played tracks. Moods change with the free flow of Irish jigs, slow and romantic airs, Spanish North African-influenced classical musical through to a trio of Scottish waltzes that include distinct echoes of Duane Eddy.

Anyone who has seen Richard Thompson playing at any stage of his career will have marvelled at the quality of his playing as he seems to insert melodies within melodies and all often at bewildering speed. He has always had the ability to work within a range of time signatures that would elude most, exemplified here with the 9/8 time on ‘The Random Jig / The Grinder’, and to be able to evoke moods, obscure musical memories and oblique imagery. With this album it is as if he is offering us a glimpse into his family musical scrapbook for us to understand where he is coming from. Indeed, the man himself writes in the notes of how pleased he is that it is now available again after three decades. Via our link with the US Omnivore label, Ace is delighted to bring the work once again to the market this side of the pond, which in this case is certainly where it should be.

By Kingsley Abbott


Track listing


Side 1

  • 01 Preview Medley: New-Fangled Flogging Reel - Kerry Reel

  • 02 Preview Medley: Vaillance Polka Militaire - Belfast Polka

  • 03 Preview Scott Skinner Medley: Glencoe - Scott Skinner's Rockin' Step - Bonny Banchory

  • 04 Preview Banish Misfortune

  • 05 Preview Medley: Dundee Hornpipe - Poppy-Leaf Hornpipe

  • 06 Preview Do It For My Sake

  • 07 Preview Rockin' In Rhythm

  • 08 Preview Medley: The Random Jig -The Grinder

  • 09 Preview Medley: Will Ye No Cam Back Again - Cam O'er The Stream Charlie - Ye Banks And Braes

  • 10 Preview Medley: Rufty Tufty - Nonsuch À La Mode De France

  • 11 Preview Andalus - Radio Marrakesh

  • 12 Preview The Knife-Edge

Delivery & Returns


We offer free P&P to UK addresses. For all other territories packaging is free and postage is charged on a weight basis.

We use Royal Mail First Class for UK deliveries and standard Air Mail for all other territories, very large orders will usually be sent via parcelforce. You may cancel your order at any time prior to your order being dispatched by emailing us at ensuring that you quote your name, address and order reference number or by telephoning +44 (0) 208 453 1311 between 9am and 5pm GMT/BST, Monday to Friday. Please note: As music downloads are dispatched immediately after purchase, there is no possibility of cancelling these orders.

In the event that any products supplied to you by us are damaged or defective, we agree to replace or repair the damaged or defective products or refund the amount you paid for such goods (including postage & packaging) providing you notify us (either via post at or e-mail: ) and return the goods within 28 days of purchase. Physical goods should be sent back to us in the same condition you received them to: “Returns” Ace Records, Such Close, Letchworth Garden City SG6 1JF, United Kingdom. Music downloads should be returned to us via the e-mail address above including a copy of your notification.

You have the right to cancel your order within seven days of purchase, or seven days of receipt of the goods (whichever is the longer). If you choose to cancel your order, full payment will be returned to you. Returned items should be sent to: “Returns” c/o Ace Records, Such Close, Letchworth Garden City SG6 1JF, United Kingdom. Music downloads should be returned to us via the email address: including a copy of your notice of cancellation and order number.

Customer reviews


Related products

Customers who bought this item also bought