LINDA THOMPSON: A special voice that keeps disappearing

Like great rivers, some voices go further, deeper, wider than others. Wrap them around a great song and they'll take you places you don't ever quite return from. Once heard, the voice of British folk-rock icon Linda Thompson is not forgotten. And like a river half-underground, half in spate, Thompson's voice is all the more special because, so often, it is simply not there.

Afflicted by dysphonia since 1973, the condition has more or less guaranteed that live performances these days are non-existent, and records come every six years or so – there have been three solo albums since her return to the studio with 2001's Fashionably Late. Even today, as I arrive at her west London home, she is afraid of her voice – her speaking voice – giving up on her as we sit at a large dining table with a pile of her latest album's covers – Won't Be Long Now – awaiting her signature.

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