Richard Thompson – Ship To Shore

Richard Thompson - Ship To Shore



4.5/5 Pros

  • Very nice and wisely written folk rock
  • Great storytelling and good atmosphere

Richard Thompson already wrote music history in the 1960’s. Since the 1970’s, he is successful as a solo artist. On 31st May 2024, the British singer and guitarist is releasing his 19th solo studio album overall, Ship To Shore. A good opportunity to listen to the tunes of this true music legend. Here is my review.


Richard Thompson – About The Artist

Richard Thompson was born on 3rd April 1949 in Notting Hill, London, in the United Kingdom. Throughout his musical career, he majorly worked in the folk and folk rock genre. In 1967, he co-founded Fairport Convention. The band is still active (in alternating lineups). Despite Thompson left the band and turned solo in 1971 already, he was part of five albums, In 1972, he released his solo debut album Henry the Human Fly. He later also released albums with his wife Linda and with Danny Thompson (not related). His releases regularly make it into the British charts. He is also very popular in the United States and other markets.


Richard Thompson – Ship To Shore – Track by Track

The twelve song album lasts 47 minutes.

1. Freeze

The album opens with one of the two single releases of the album so far, Freeze. The song has a nice folk touch, the mandolin melody is giving a nostalgic touch. Especially in later parts, the guitars take over a strong role as well. The song is a nice track with a good speak.

2. The Fear Never Leaves You

The Fear Never Leaves You is a slower than the opener and thus creates a more melancholic and thoughtful atmosphere. Later parts of the also have a very rhythmic character. Thompson intensively uses repetitive catch phrases like Never leaves you alone, which even boosts the atmosphere of the song.

3. Singapore Sadie

The other single release so far on the album, Singapore Sadie, opens with the fiddle. The chorus has a a nicely swaying character and thus even reminds a bit of shanty songs. Again, Thompson is a master in using different instruments for different kinds of atmosphere, which leads to a really nice dramatic plot in here.

But her love is a mystical thing
I swear I hear choirs celestial sing
Her love doesn’t come every day
It comes like a bolt from the blue
Burning and blinding and true

4. Trust

Can’t trust my eyes, can’t trust my ears
Things you say, things you do to me
Are you wise, are you sincere?
Are you for real? – that’s something new to me

The drums are ticking in the background of Trust and define the speed of the song. The bass lines remind of Americana songs and spread an intense rock feeling. A very nice listen.

5. The Day That I Give In

The Day That I Give In is a song with a beautiful, nicely flowing slower melody. Again, there is a rather intense main melody, on top of which Thompson puts some easier tunes like the mandolin. Simply a nice listen.

6. The Old Pack Mule

The sixth track of the album is a melodic beauty. The main theme reminds of rather Medieval tunes, but in combination with the additional instruments, the song does not feel outdated at all. While the drums and bass define the rhythm of the song in most of the times, the guitars give the song a nice rock touch in the bridge.

7. Turnstile Casanova

In Turnstile Casanova, it’s the guitars who take the lead from the very beginning. The track is one of the most rocking songs on Ship To Shore. The instrumental parts energize this one. Especially towards the end of the 3:24 minute song, I just cannot deny a certain Bruce Springsteen flavor in this one.

8. Lost In The Crowd

You just don’t understand
This is the hardest thing I’ll ever do
And as she walked away
I followed anyway
But the night was like a shroud
She was Lost In The Crowd

The eighth sound has a deep, dramatic touch, just in line with the story of the song. I feel that this song is a nice illustration of the beauty of Thompson’s music. It is a nice leverage of intense atmosphere and very clear, relatable storytelling.

9. Maybe

The very present drumming and the virtuous electric guitar lines even lead to a touch of rock’n’roll on Ship To Shore. Definitely, the groovy and rhythmic song has a great potential of making you want to dance to Thompson’s song. However, Thompson does not neglect his strong storytelling, I especially love the section below:

She’s a disco queen from a golden era
She digs old Bowie and Kate’s her hero
She can be flirty, she can be shirty
Her hands are clean but her mouth is dirty

10. Life’s A Bloody Show

The song title already suggests that the tenth track is going to be a bit more intense again. Nonetheless, especially the chorus comes with a clear, nice melody and is very catching. The closing of this song is a nice mixture of a fairground-alike tune and a dramatic, scary ending. The song just cannot deny a certain complexity.

11. What’s Left To Lose

After this virtuous and demanding listen, What’s Left To Lose feels very easy. Nonetheless, it is not a cheap song and Thompson again manages to turn feelings into beautiful and metaphoric lyrics. Nice.

12. We Roll

The closing song of the album is We Roll, which is spreading its groove from the very beginning. Later, Thompson adds other elements like the fiddle to the song. A really nice folk music track, which also closes the whole album in a harmonic and characteristic way.


Richard Thompson – Ship To Shore – Spotify

Here is the album on Spotify:


Richard Thompson – Ship To Shore – My View

Richard Thompson is demanding here and there. But his album is also definitely a beauty. I absolutely enjoyed his wise songwriting and precise storytelling. Folk fans will love this one.

Favorite Song: The Old Pack Mule


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