Thackray sang in a lugubrious baritone voice, accompanying himself on a nylon-strung guitar in a style that was part classical, part jazz. His witty lyrics and clipped delivery, combined with his strong Yorkshire accent and the northern setting of many of his songs, led to him being described as the “North Country Noël Coward”, a comparison Thackray resisted, although he acknowledged his lyrics were in the English tradition of Coward and Flanders and Swann, “who are wordy, funny writers”. However, his tunes derived from the French chansonnier tradition: he claimed Georges Brassens as his greatest inspiration, and he was also influenced by Jacques Brel and Charles Trenet. He also admired Randy Newman. He was admired by, and influenced, many performers including Jarvis Cocker, Mike Harding, Momus, Ralph McTell, Morrissey, Alex Turner, and Jasper Carrott.