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Richard Thompson's 'Electric': Guitar Solos Rule

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-- Richard Thompson, "Electric" (New West Records)

On "Electric," Richard Thompson plugs in and delivers his most generous helping of guitar solos in many years, perhaps ever. The fretwork is marvelous even by his lofty standards, and some credit for inspiration probably goes to producer Buddy Miller, a fair picker himself.

While Thompson's notes come in a flurry, he has always been prolific as a composer, too, and here he serves up another solid batch of songs. He might get flagged for a late hit on Sarah Palin with "Sally B," but it rocks, as does "Stony Ground," where unrequited love turns bloody. Otherwise, the body count's lower than on most Thompson albums.

He's ably accompanied by his touring mates, drummer Michael Jerome and bassist Taras Prodaniuk, and the arrangements give the guitarist plenty of room to do his thing. Each time Thompson launches into one of his eclectic breaks, "Electric" becomes electrifying.

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