Doom & Gloom From The Tomb Vol 1 and 2

One of the all-time legendary outtake collections, Doom and Gloom >From The Tomb has ascended to all-but official status in the eyes of the devoted Richard Thompson collector, the yardstick by which all past and future Thompson anthologies should be measured, and the role model, even, for the 5CD Life And Times set released in 2006. Certainly, great swathes of Doom and Gloom are revisited on the box set, in spirit if not in fact… which, in turn, means anybody seeking out a quick and easy introduction to the formidable Thompson archive could pick up either set, and not feel as though they're missing out on anything too crucial.

Sources and sound quality vary throughout the two-disc set, while the music itself is subject to some wild mood swings. Compiled with little regard for chronology, we journey from a pair of 1968 Fairport radio broadcasts ("Eastern Rain" and "Book Song"), to a Richard and Linda demo from almost a decade later ("Died For Love"), and thence to the early 1980s. Likewise, studio and live recordings rub shoulders without a care, and it can be a little startling to hurtle from a full bore "Calvary Cross," recorded in New York in 1983, to the fragility of the original "First Light" demo - and then back onstage for the rock'n'roll revivalism of Cliff Richard's "Move It."

There are some priceless treasures here. "Madness Of Love," recorded live on the Thompson's 1977 tour, is spectacular, as is the demo for "Strange Affair," from the same year. Hank Williams' "Mind Your Own Business" is as momentous a discovery as a stark solo rendering of "She Moves Through The Fair," while Albion Country Band performances of "The Little Beggar Girl" and "The Poor Ditching Boy," and the 1971 demo "Bad News Is All The Wind Can Carry" are almost worth the price of admission alone.

Again, there's a lot of Richard Thompson here, and most of it's aimed at the true connoisseur. But, within those parameters, it's not hard to see why Doom And Gloom is so highly rated. - Dave Thompson

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