By Tom Sinclair
Updated February 06, 2006 05:00 AM

A founding member of British folkies Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson has inhabited a dizzying number of personas as a solo artist: visionary hurdy-gurdy man, molten-hot electric-guitar hero, restless musical explorer, spiritual searcher, comedian. This five-CD boxed set, The Life and Music of Richard Thompson, which includes rarities, unreleased tracks, covers, and live workouts, constitutes a bona fide treasure trove for fans?and a boffo starting point for potential converts.