Dec/Jan Answers, Part II
3/3/2009 (updated 7/4/2012)

So when do we get to hear Bobby's new Strat? Also, any plans to release live CD of the "Sweet Warrior" tour and, if so, will anything from the show at Kentucky Theatre in Lexington be included? Thanks, Robert Jordan

The next time the band goes out, the Strat should be out there. "Live Warrior" is due for release soon. I don't know where individual performances of songs came from.

Did you write the song "Rescue Me" that you played live back in 1977? Linus Johnson.

I did. Not one of my faves, and not Fontella Bass.

We just got back from RT's Sunday night Montalvo show. We didn't get a chance to ask Richard more on how this show actually came about. If there's coverage of it on BeesWeb, maybe someone can provide more information about it--like whether Richard or Montalvo or some other entity proposed it, who chose the songs, whether it might ever be repeated elsewhere, etc. Richard and George were just wonderful. It was a privilege to attend this and the last two shows. Best, Pam Winters

Montalvo asked if one of the nights could be themed towards social/political/protest songs, to tie in with a series they were running. Some time closer to the show, they came back and said that the theme was no longer a requirement, but having thought about it, it seemed it would make an interesting show. We do have a recording. See above.

I've had the immense pleasure of seeing RT bunches of times over the last few years. Always stunning. Always charming. Constantly changing and adding even more power and grace. I was just wondering. RT seems so accessible. While it's a joy to be in the audience this accessibility seems to invite what has happened at every solo event I've had the pleasure to see him at. The audience, invariably, at some point in the evening shout some comment or request during the performance. RT always handles this with aplomb. It seems like a form of heckling to me, and always makes me slightly uncomfortable. I know we all crave, and feel as though we have, a personal relationship with the performers we love. However, I've never seen this happen with any other artist I've seen. How does RT feel about this? John Barnes

If people are quiet during the songs, which they usually are, and shout out between songs, that's fine with me. I hate 'dead' audiences, and as a performer. you want to feel that you're getting something back from the room. It's good if folk want to shout out requests, and if I can hear them, so much the better. I've seen this with other artists too, so I think you need to get out more.

Have you ever tried using a partial capo? To me, they seem to give the option of the modal feel of DADGAD without the limitations of open tunings. Tom - Chilton, Hungary

It's not the same as a modal tuning, but it gives you different options, for instance, you can't fret the 'open' string where the capo is placed, but you can do things like fret BEHIND the capo - very cool. I've tried a couple, and I think for recording they are a truly useful tool, but live, they take a bit of setting up to get in tune.

Hi Richard....Let me get the I-love-your-music-you're-awesome sucking up part out of the way first. Done with that. Caught your show at the Mystic in Petaluma and also the Saturday night request show at Montalvo. My 11 year old Grandson was with me at Montalvo (second time for him) and I can't thank you enough for your kindness to him. You are, in his words, his 'idol' and you were very cool with him. He will never forget it and neither will I. You are a nice man, Mr. Thompson.....oh that's more fawning and sucking up isn't it? So, any chance the Montalvo shows were recorded this last time? Maggie, Santa Rosa, Ca.

Yes, they were, see above.

All the best for 2009. I have a couple of rather unrelated questions:

1) Is that you taking the second lead break on "Poor Old Horse" on the Albions' "Rise Up Like the Sun"? If it's not, Graeme Taylor (or whoever it was) must have made a pretty close study, don't you think? Come to think of it the next-to-last lead break on "Primrose" sounds like you too.

All the Albion guitar is Graeme Taylor, who for my money sounds like Graeme Taylor.

2) Sitting with my family around the Christmas table, one end (for reasons that remain opaque) delivered a ragged rendition of a seasonal classic by, I think, Pink Floyd, whereupon my grandmother, Monmouthshire-raised and soon to be 92, burst out with a chorus of "Waiting At The Church". To the astonishment and bemusement of all, matched only when I joined in. It got me thinking, though, that I know next to nothing about music hall, or indeed any pre-1950 British popular music, with the exception of what I hear on "1000 Years" and what can be gleaned from a battered collection of Harry Lauder's songs found in a junk-shop for 25 cents. Do you have any thoughts on where to start educating myself? Artists you particularly value? Cheers, Ash Baker, Toronto

This is a huge area. Music Hall grew out of supper clubs offering entertainment in the 1830s and 40s, and was killed off by cinema and TV. That's a long time, a lot of great performers, and too much to do justice to here. I have two books of Music Hall songs, unfortunately in the wrong country, so I can't check the titles. One is called, I think, The British Music Hall, and contains a short history, and chronological selection of songs. Google should find it, as well as a good number of recordings by the later artists, some in the twilight of their careers. Gracie Fields and Stanley Holloway stand out for me as wonderful artists at the end of the era, who were extensively recorded, and went on to have successful acting and singing careers. You have to judge some of the earlier unrecorded acts by the quality of the songs, and there are too many to list here.