As lead guitarist for Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson had helped steer a band that initially emulated American rockers like Jefferson Airplane into an authentic British folk rock institution, swiftly evolving as a ... more »powerful songwriter ready to dip back into his own heritage for models. Thompson's first solo album finds him ranging through ballads, jigs, and reels as comfortably as he once had tackled Dylan and Joni Mitchell, tapping British brass bands and reviving old ballad forms and pre-industrial imagery to make his point. From "Roll Over Vaughn Williams" to the jubilant surfer-at-the-track spree of "The Angels Took My Racehorse Away," he gives ample evidence of the musicianship and intelligence that have since made him a cornerstone of folk rock regardless of nationality. --Sam Sutherland« less
As lead guitarist for Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson had helped steer a band that initially emulated American rockers like Jefferson Airplane into an authentic British folk rock institution, swiftly evolving as a powerful songwriter ready to dip back into his own heritage for models. Thompson's first solo album finds him ranging through ballads, jigs, and reels as comfortably as he once had tackled Dylan and Joni Mitchell, tapping British brass bands and reviving old ballad forms and pre-industrial imagery to make his point. From "Roll Over Vaughn Williams" to the jubilant surfer-at-the-track spree of "The Angels Took My Racehorse Away," he gives ample evidence of the musicianship and intelligence that have since made him a cornerstone of folk rock regardless of nationality. --Sam Sutherland
"I was always a big Fairport / RT fan from the moment I heard Unhalfbricking. On spring break in Florida, I happened upon a DJ copy of the Henry LP in the cutout bin of a record store - this was '72 and it hasn't been off my turntable / player ever since. "Painted Ladies" is my all-time RT favorite song and it's his art in a nutshell. While not as polished as some of his later releases, it's probably one of the best places for the new listener to start."
The Crazy Brown Fox Skipped Merrily Through the Heather - WH
Dennis Baker | Sonoma County, California | 03/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I read somewhere that Richard Thompson didin't like this album, something about he didin't feel sure of himself and felt his lack of confidence came across in the recording. Could have fooled me, this is without a doubt my fav all time recording by anyone. I've played the grooves out of two LP's and now abuse a CD version reoutinely. The combination of Richard's very cool guitar style coupled with his witty lyrics make this a must have for anyone liking celtic rock in the least, I mean heck, even my punk band does a cover of "The Angels Took My Racehorse Away", and it rocks the pub everytime we roll it out. Pity this record never got the widespread commercial recognition it deserved, but then, if Richard Thompson had become a mega star, we wouldn't have the fun of keeping him in our cult wardrobes, bringing him out to introduce to new initiates and watching their eys grow big in amazement!
So in summary, I've been a closet celtic rocker since the late 60's (gawd, how can that be!?)and have a ton of recordings by numerous brit groups, but I will love this recording forever, and hold it as the best of the genre, at least for me. I still follow Richard, see him when he comes to my area and still try to copy some of the techniques from his instructional cd. Why do my fingers hurt so much???
When the power of love is more important than the love of power, the world will know peace -- Jimi Hendrix!"
Sticks to you
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 03/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Henry the Human Fly" remains one of RT's best and greatest statements as a solo artist. he wasn't to resume his solo career for another 12 years (in the meantime for folks that don't know he recorded with his wife Linda and retired for awhile to live in a Sufi commune). I have to agree with many other fans of the album here--this does provide a blueprint for Thompson's albums with Linda but, more importantly, for his second solo album "Hand of Kindness" another overlooked gem from RT's recording career. This terrific classic album sounds marvelous here in its remaster/reissued edition. There are no bonus tracks nor any additional sleeve notes althought the original artwork is duplicated and we do get the song lyrics.
Certainly Linda had the better voice (he stunning alto can be heard on backing vocals on many of these tracks)but Thompson stepped up to the challenge as a lead vocalist in Fairport Convention with a memorable voice all his own. His voice certainly has character and while it isn't as powerful as his guitar playing on this album, Thompson sings the lyrics with passion and heart. From "Roll Over Vaughn Williams" (a clever play on Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven")with its rustic folk melody imbued with an electric charge to the witty "Nobody's Wedding", "The Poor Ditching Boy" and the more traditional "The Angels Took My Racehorse Away" Thompson's writing provides an intelligent blast in the face of glam rock then just taking to the airwaves in America.
Although it sold poorly (One of the A&R people at Warner used to tell him it was their worst selling album in the history of the label. Sounds like a load because of the amount of records the label released. Still, it's possible)like the Velvet Underground's first album everyone who bought it probably started a band. "Henry" with its bizarre cover (Thompson wearing a homemade fly suit..I'm surprised that David Cronenberg didn't use some of Thompson's earthy music in his film "The Fly" given the fun tie in)it's a powerful overlooked masterpiece."
The Human Being
Kevin Gallaugher | 04/16/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Richard Thompson is a noble human being. Finding early recognition for his pioneering guitarism and songwriting ability in everyone's favorite english folk rock band, he then chose the more difficult path of starting anew. Rising from the anonymity of this first solo effort, the path of his career has been one of constant development, revision, evolution. So, in view of his now well established career, this recording may be seen in hindsight as the record that jump-started all that he has become today. The pieces are in place: historic sounding folk composition, legendary electric guitar and vocal style, idiosyncratic arrangement and production. Thompson himself has been dismissive of this album, but it should not be overlooked by the man's admirers. For anyone who has followed Thompson's post Fairport career, this is where it all began."