Linda Thompson: Versatile Heart

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Linda Thompson: Versatile Heart

Trad queen explores new sounds

Linda Thompson doesn?t need to sing another note to buttress her impeccable musical legacy. Her six albums with ex-husband Richard saw to that

, and 2002?s late-career comeback, Fashionably Late, only confirmed her reputation as the queen of bittersweet melancholy and one of our finest interpreters of traditional British ballads. So let?s get the minor quibble out of the way and state that Linda, with or without the collaborations of son Teddy, isn?t the songwriter that Richard is, and that Versatile Heart is no Shoot Out the Lights. But her marvelous voice is still very much intact, whether surveying the expected Trad territory (?Katy Cruel,? ?Whiskey, Bob Copper, and Me?), crying a river on Rufus Wainwright?s ersatz Broadway torch-song, ?Beauty,? or?most surprisingly?engaging in the peculiarly British honky-tonk of ?Do Your Best for Rock ?n? Roll? and ?Give Me a Sad Song,? on which Nashville meets Nottingham. It?s not Thompson?s best, but it?s certainly her most versatile album.