Onetime half of rock’s ultimate fun couple takes an outing with her kids

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Linda Thompson – Versatile Heart

Like [b]Thompson[/b]’s triumphant comeback album, 2002’s [b]Fashionably Late[/b], Versatile Heart is a family affair featuring son and primary collaborator [b]Teddy Thompson[/b] and daughter [b]Kamila[/b]. Thompson brings a palpable gravitas to every song she sings, so it’s disarming to find her in a playful mood on the Teddy co-write “Do Your Best For Rock ’n’ Roll”, driving a Mercedes in Kamila’s “Nice Cars” and referencing Michael Jackson in [b]Rufus Wainwright[/b]’s “Beauty” – a Byronesque meditation presented as a Tin Pan Alley ballad.

Equally evocative is a “Day After Tomorrow”, [b]Tom Waits[/b] and [b]Kathleen Brennan[/b]’s song about a soldier longing to return home from the Middle East, but Thompson and Kamila make it seem ancient. Mom brings a balance of stateliness and vulnerability to her own material, paced by “The Way I Love You” and “Go Home”, neither of which would’ve been out of place on Pour Down Like Silver. On Versatile Heart, Thompson is regal yet totally at ease, a grande dame in a well-worn pair of corduroys.

BUD SCOPPA