Despite the affliction with dysphonia that periodically prevents her singing, Linda Thompson's second album in 22 years is a marvellous, confident affair, drawing together the various strands of her music, from the updated traditional song "Katy Cruel" to modern pieces such as Tom Waits' anti-war song "Day After Tomorrow" and the melancholy rumination on "Beauty" written for Thompson by Rufus Wainwright. Rufus's sister Martha is one of a supporting cast that includes Antony Hegarty, squeezebox virtuoso John Kirkpatrick, and Martin and Eliza Carthy on Thompson's tribute to the first family of English folk music, "Whisky, Bob Copper and Me". Her son Teddy Thompson provides much of the impetus, adding delicate fingerstyle guitar to most tracks and co-writing many of the songs, notably the fair-maidenly pastiche "Blue & Gold", the title track, and the bluesy "Do Your Best For Rock'*'Roll", in which she asks: "God, if there is a God, save my soul – and if you can't do that, just do your best for rock'*'roll." Amen to that.
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