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Linda Thompson, ‘Won’t Be Long Now’

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Sorrow is drenched into this sweepingly honest album from Linda Thompson. She’s the ex-wife of Richard Thompson — they combined on the great “Shoot Out the Lights” album in the ’80s before Linda came down with a rare vocal disorder. She has made only three albums since 1985 and this is her best, a melancholy but exhilarating group of collaborations done in English traditional folk styles. It’s a joy to hear her voice this strong again, despite lyrical themes that depict love’s downside. She opens with “Love’s for Babies and Fools” (with Richard Thompson joining her for the first time in 11 years), an acoustic clarion call for failed romantics. “If I Were a Bluebird,” cowritten with Ron Sexmith, is about a woman whose lover sails away. Linda writes other songs with her son, Teddy, and their “Never the Bride” continues the teary-eyed subject matter. There are moments of levity but the overall thrust is an open-throated sadness that is absolutely stunning. (Out Tuesday)

Essential “Love’s for Babies and Fools”

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