The three albums that Richard and Linda Thompson made for Island Records in the mid-'70s are at the very core of the folk-rock canon, sporting an abundance of RT's transcendent guitar work and some of the most affecting songs ever to emerge from his powerful pen, plus the crucial component of his wife Linda's goosebump-inducing croon. This collection kicks off with a brace of songs from Richard's 1972 solo debut, Henry the Human Fly; these provide valuable context, bearing a bit more traditional British folk influence carried over from his old band, trailblazing folk-rockers Fairport Convention. The Thompsons cover a broad spectrum of moods, from the excitement of a night on the town in "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight" to the emotional dissolution of "Withered and Died." Though the pair's marriage famously flamed out in the '80s, they created one of the most poignant love songs in the English language on "A Heart Needs a Home." And Richard's six-string fireworks on a live version of the guitar tour de force "Calvary Cross" are a resonant reminder of his unassailable guitar-hero status.