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5/30/2005 (updated 5/30/2005)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 31, 2005
Richard Thompson Channels the Ghosts of Bards
Past For 'Front Parlour Ballads'


Minstrels, troubadours, cantors, balladeers and bards- Richard Thompson channels the spirits of the great ones with his new album'Front Parlour Ballads,' due out August 9 on Cooking Vinyl USA. Steeped in centuries of songwriting tradition, the album simmers with melodies as disparate as the grim and bluesy 'My Soul, My Soul,' to the carefully stretched notes and gentle strumming of "Precious One" (whose tones might not have been out of place in the court of Elanor of Aquitaine). Twentieth century classical composers were among those who played a role in guiding Thompson while crafting these songs, and one can detect the influence of Erik Satie in the simplicity of the melodies, or of Ravel in the return to classical song forms. Lyrically, 'Ballads' treats us to a tapestry of literature, history, mythology, and pure imagination, where the overeager Air New Zealand hostess of "Let It Blow" might meet with the languid paramour of "Old Thames Side," whose beauty is "Like Venus risen out of the water."

Although Richard works with a veritable army of artistic forbears on the album, it is very much a solo effort, recorded in his home studio with assistance from percussionist Debra Dobkin on two tracks. It marks his second outing with Cooking Vinyl, who released his last studio album 'The Old Kit Bag' in 2003, and is his first acoustic solo album since 1981's 'Strict Tempo!'.