IN these days of instant fame X Factor style, it is very satisfying to witness a great singer songwriter and master guitarist who has been plying his trade since the sixties and still continues to evolve and progress.

Richard Thompson is all these things (and the recipient of an OBE in the New Year Honours to boot) and remains a beacon to anyone with a love of folk or rock or anything in between.

Backed by an impressive band, including a rock solid rhythm section, a skilful multi-instrumentalist who played all manner of reeds and strings, and a soulful violinist, armed with his trusty pale blue Stratocaster, Mr Thompson proceeded to rock the house in no uncertain terms.

The first set of the two and a halfhour performance was taken up with powerful renditions of songs from his recent album Dream Attic.

The Money Shuffle, his opening rant on the subject of bankers was well received by the strongly partisan audience who obviously knew his work well and from that point onwards with these good folk he could do no wrong.

There was the warm anthemic Big Sun Falling In The Water, the chilling Crime Scene, the touching If Love Whispers Your Name, and a skewed take on that great folk tradition - the murder ballad. The grisly account of the serial killing trucker Sidney Wells was delivered at a hectic pace apparently in the time signature of a slip-jig.

Throughout the show Thompson continued to amaze with his wonderfully individual guitar solos. By George, for an old folker he can certainly rock out. Full credit to the audience for staying with him as he pushed the limits of sonic possibilities.

The second half was a stroll down memory lane with old favourites like Wall of Death and Tear Stained Letter hitting the spot nicely. A short acoustic interlude gave us some lovely Left Bank Jazz in Al Bowllys In Heaven, then quite suddenly we were on to the timeless I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight.

Mr Thompson and his worthy cohorts saluted the audience and were gone leaving a standing ovation and a warm glow.

Roger Elliott