Rolling Stone - p.804.5 stars out of 5
-- "[An] excellent 71-track primer, which also shows the U.K. vet as a world-class songwriter."
Spin - p.91
"Thompson's foghorn baritone gives his songs a medieval gravitas, and the beginning with Fairport's 'Meet on the Ledge,' he has wrestled with the nostalgia and melancholy of adulthood in frank, darkly funny lyrics."
Billboard (p.33) - "WALKING ON A WIRE makes for an expansive introduction to an ambitious artist."
Q (Magazine) - p.1234 stars out of 5
-- "[I]t's expertly selected to showcase his extraordinary way with a song."
Pitchfork (Website) - "1991's 'Read About Love' is as vivacious and catchy as any other power-pop song of its era....The set is the closest thing Thompson's got to the career-spanning greatest-hits album he deserves..."
Record Collector (magazine) - p.905 stars out of 5
-- "Lyrically, Thompson's articulacy and intelligence knows no bounds....Richard Thompson is many men, and you'll find them all across these 71 tracks."
Personnel: Richard Thompson (vocals, whistling, guitar, acoustic guitar, acoustic 12-string guitar, electric guitar, dulcimer, hammer dulcimer, autoharp, hurdy-gurdy, mandocello, mandolin, whistle, accordion, piano, harmonium, organ, synthesizer, Theremin, background vocals); Pete Zorn (vocals, whistling, acoustic guitar, mandolin, saxophone, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, percussion, background vocals); Simon Nicol (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, acoustic 12-string guitar, electric guitar, electric 12-string guitar, 12-string guitar, nylon-string guitar, banjo, dulcimer, violin, piano, organ, bass guitar, background vocals); Teddy Thompson (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, dulcimer, background vocals); Sandy Denny (vocals, acoustic guitar, acoustic 12-string guitar, piano, harpsichord, organ); Judy Dyble (vocals, autoharp, recorder, piano); Dave Swarbrick (vocals, mandolin, fiddle, viola); Dave Pegg (vocals, mandolin, bass guitar); Timi Donald (vocals, drums, percussion); Ian Matthews (vocals, congas, background vocals); Ian MacDonald, Ian MacDonald (vocals, Jew's harp); Christine Collister, Judith Owen, Ashley Hutchings (vocals, background vocals); Linda Peter, Linda Peters, Linda Thompson, Pat Donaldson (vocals); John Kirkpatrick (bass voice, accordion, concertina, anglo concertina, triangle); Dolores Keane (whistling, whistle); James ORourke, James O'Rourke (guitar, piano); Tchad Blake (guitar); Andy Roberts (dulcimer); Sue Harris (hammer dulcimer, oboe); Sidonie Goossens, Sidonie Goossens, David Snell (harp); Mitchell Froom (electric harp, piano, celesta, organ, Hammond b-3 organ, portative organ, regal, chamberlin, keyboards, Theremin); Martin Lamble, Martin Lamble (violin, fiddle, drums, washboard, tabla, percussion); Joe Buck, Jr., Peter Knight Singers, Alan V. Michaels, Joe Buck, Peter Knight, Sid Page (violin); Aly Bain (fiddle, double bass); Chuck Fleming, Chuck Fleming, Nic Jones, Sue Draheim, Barry Dransfield, Tom McConville (fiddle); Novi Ola (viola); Danielle DeGruttola, Suzie Katayama (cello); Ian Whiteman (flute, shakuhachi, piano, electric piano, harmonium, organ); Peter Filleul (flute, keyboards, background vocals); Martin Dunn (flute); Tony Roberts (alto flute, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone); Peter Zorn (whistle, percussion, background vocals); David McKelsy (harmonica); Alan Dunn (accordion); Alistair Anderson (concertina); Philip Pickett & the New London Consort (shawm, recorder, soprano recorder, curtal, bass programming); Philip Pickett (shawm, recorder, soprano recorder, curtal, symphony); Phil Pickett (shawm); Dylan Fowler (oboe); Pete Thomas (saxophone, tenor saxophone, drums, percussion); Paul Dunmall (saxophone, tenor saxophone); John Defereri (tenor saxophone); David Bitelli, Jeff Big Dad Turmes (baritone saxophone); Clay Toyani, Henry Lowther (trumpet); Tony Goddard, Larry Hall , Stephen Corbett, Brian Jones , Brian Taylor, Charlie Davis (cornet); Randall Aldcroft, Jeff Cole, Stephen Barnett , Mark Cutts, Les Benedict (trombone); Ian Peters (euphonium); Phil Goodwin (tuba); David Horn (tenor horn); Dave Mattacks (harmonium, keyboards, drums, snare drum, bodhran, hi-hat, percussion); Neil Larsen, Pete Wingfield (keyboards); Danny Thompson , Danny Thompson (acoustic bass, double bass, upright bass); Damon Smith (acoustic bass); Jerry Scheff (double bass, electric bass); Tyger Hutchings (double bass, bass guitar, background vocals); Atom Ellis, Taras Prodaniuk (electric bass); Michael Jerome (drums, percussion, background vocals); John Hanes (drums, percussion); Michael Spencer-Arscott, Jim Keltner, Joey Waronker, Mickey Curry, Andy Newmark (drums); Liz Kitchen, Chris Karen, Louis Jardine, Alex Acu¤a, Chris Karan (percussion); Clive Gregson, Phil Barnes, Dave Burland, Kingsley Abbott, Paul Ghosh, Bobby "Blanco" King, Lal Carthy, Lindsay Benton, Phil Barnes, Peta Webb, Mike Carthy, Norma Carthy, Glenn Tilbrook, Heather Brady, Dave Brady, Andrew Horvitch, Royston Wood, Nicole Tibbels, John Hiatt, Julian Littman, Julie Covington, Kate McGarrigle, Maddy Prior, Martin Carthy, Michael Parker, Andy Fairweather Low, Peta Webb, Anna McGarrigle, The Watersons, Trevor Lucas, Bill Caddick, Olive Simpson, Marc Ellington, Kingsley Abbott, Heather Brady, Dave Brady (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Simon Tassano.
Audio Remasterer: Bob Fisher .
Liner Note Authors: Crazy Man Michael; Jim Bessmon; Patrick Humphries; Linda Thompson; Richard Thompson.
Recording information: England (01/08/1982-02/02/2001); Inside Out Festival, Crawley, England (01/08/1982-02/02/2001); The Bottom Line, NY (01/08/1982-02/02/2001); The Iron Horse, Northampton, MA (01/08/1982-02/02/2001).
Editor: Simon Tassano.
Photographers: Eric Hayes; John Free; Greg Allen ; Richard Thompson; Bill Gill.
Richard Thompson has never had a for-real hit record (at least not in America) over the course of a career that's spanned five decades, but there are few musicians who are better respected by their peers or have a more devoted fan base, and not without reason -- he's a fine singer, a superb, inventive guitarist, and a truly masterful songwriter. This may explain why Thompson, a man who could best be described as a "cult figure," is being honored with his third multi-disc box set. WALKING ON A WIRE: 1968-2009 is a four-disc set that offers a carefully edited and intelligently compiled chronological summary of Thompson's recorded repertoire, from his early recordings with Fairport Convention to his 2007 solo album, SWEET WARRIOR. It's hard to imagine anyone who appreciates music that speaks honestly to the heart and soul not falling in love with this.