Answers Feb/Mar, Part IV
5/7/2009 (updated 5/7/2009)

Once W.B. Yeats said that he didn't particularly like his poems to be set to music because the music might divert focus from the words in his poems. Some songwriters clearly put most of their attention on lyrics, and music is secondary. (Other pop songwriters, naturally, don't take lyrics too seriously.) (And some fairly good songwriters, like Schubert or Gershwin, didn't even bother to write their own lyrics.) In your view of songwriting, which is most important, music or lyrics? Todd Compton

There are lyrically important songs, musically important songs, and everything in between, so Yeats can be right in his little area of The Song That Should Not Be Sung (although they sound pretty good if they ARE sung), and dance music is fine even if the lyrics are there more for the sound and the rhythm (Hey Ho Skip To My Lou). Even pop songs are telling a story in the lyrics. Charlie Parker loved Country Music because of the stories it told. I think everything is valid, and I would hope, as a writer, to feel that I could have access to all those possibilities.

Dull question about 'Watch Me Go' - a song I love. One of the lines given by song-o-matic is:
"But you gave us beef when we had none, of wood and string and wire"
Unusually, the lyrics aren't included with the Chrono Show CD, but it sounds to me like what Fotherington-Thomas gave was 'effigies for the fire'. Is there a definitive version? Thanks for any help you can give! Jan


Watch Me Go

One day the monkey jumps aboard, one day the black dog gets you
One Day the demons write your name in blood upon a ledger
But see the sun is shining as I step down on the pike
So pretty in my uniform of anti-look-alike
And goodbye halls of academe, I never could respect you
And loved ones, I'll say fare you well, I never could respect you.

Watch Me Go
Into the wide blue yonder
Watch Me Go
Like a human cannonball
Watch Me Go
With a mighty peal of thunder
And I'll keep shouting till they lay me low

If it wasn't for Dalwhinnie and all his reckless crew
I never would have learned to shake my fist and hullabaloo
If it wasn't for the company I'd be talking to myself
Inside a padded 8 by 12, all on the National Health
And friends and kind relations, I'll be writing very soon
The next time that you see me I'll be halfway to the moon

Thank you dear Professor, for refocusing our eyes
And thank you Captain Sensible, so eloquent and wise
And Fotherington-Thomas, now you're singing with the choir
But you gave us beef when we had none, of wood and string and wire
And for those who choose the twisty road, prefer it to the straight
Let joy beat out old misery, as love will conquer hate.

Words and music by Richard Thompson, Beeswing/Bug Music

I have sung 'effigies for the fire' on stage. I suppose next you'll be wanting to know what it all means.

Unlikely as it may seem, I'm hoping that one day you'll find a way to tour South Africa. We live in hope. Any chance? Best regards from the South, Greg-Bristol UK

I hope so too. I had an offer back in apartheid days, but nothing since.

Richard, Thank You for supplying this interesting forum. I wonder if you can use your influence to get The Bob to do something similar, especially as he does seem more outgoing of late. Or, conversely, perhaps you'll pen your own version of "Chronicles"? -James Jae

Alas, my influence does not extend that far, but from my inferior perch it would seem that Himself is busy of late, with the hit albums and radio shows and all. We should be grateful for what we get.

Sounds like your open to tabbing out 'So Ben Mi Ca Bon Tempo' that would be so cool. For all the people who look forward to your songbook it would be great to throw us a bone now and then. Oh please oh please oh please. Thank you. Jennifer Howell

See Catch Of The Day for notation and TAB. So Ben Mi Ch'a Bon Tempo.pdf

I assume that you were excited by Lewis Hamilton's breathtaking clinching of the F-1 Driver's Championship last year at Brazil. Do you think he will repeat? (Ferrari appear to be strong again, as do Sauber-BMW.)

The rule changes have thrown it all wide open, and I haven't a clue how it will end up. Meanwhile, well done Mr. Button!

What kind of capo do you now use since eschewing the Shubb? Cheers, Douglas Alan Feinstein

I still use Shubbs for certain applications, e.g. electric guitar, but I prefer the G7 for most things, a fine UK product.

My question is there any update on a when the rerelease of Celtschmerz might happen? Moray Black

We're looking at the possibilities.