This album is subtitled 'Unguents, Fig Leaves and Tourniquets for the Soul', which for me just about says it all. This is Richard Thompson at his brilliant, bitter best. Many of the songs are epic folk ballads for our time, with a great narrative line. 'A Love You Can't Survive' tells the old story of a man who promises to return to his love, but then kills someone in a street fight and has to go on the run, and ends up trying to smuggle a 'half-ton of charlie' into New Orleans harbour. The old, old story...
Other songs are heart-breaking accounts of the pain of losing love:
And if he loves you I hope he loves you as much It's just my fantasy You're leaving him for me I've got no right to have it all
The instrumentation is simple but powerful, with some great mandolin playing from Richard Thompson, and the excellent Danny Thompson on double bass. I think it's best played very loud, especially if you've just been dumped, fired or generally ended up with 'the fuzzy end of the lollipop'.