April/May Q&A, Part III
7/1/2009 (updated 7/1/2009)

I would die to hear you play on 'down by the river' or him on 'calvary cross' or 'the nerve of some people'. Or any of these kind of songs. And, as a little aside: did you ever consider a song of 10CC for '1000 years of popular music'? Would be interesting imho. Peter Dees

I shouldn't really offer an opinion, because I haven't heard much since the first album, which I really loved (the mix he didn't like). I don't hear any similarities between us, or much musical common ground. I did consider a couple of 10CC songs for '1000 Years', but we didn't choose them in the final cut.

I requested "Hey Joe" when you were in Austin recently, and at the end of it you said something like "Have your heard this version?" and played a bit of something I thought sounded like "Flower Punk" ("Hey punk where you going with that flower in your hand?") from "We're Only In It For the Money". Was that the source, and if not what version were you talking about? Great shows of course. Thanks, Tom Wilmore

The Byrds did a faster version, which Fairport covered early on (66). I think the Zappa "Hey Punk" is based on that, but he puts it into 5/4 time.

Was there ever a time in your musical career when you were quite discouraged, wanted to give up, or thought that perhaps the fates had turned a cold face your way? If yes, how did you manage this? If no, what's your motivator? Jo Chavez

I always managed to stay in work, through a willingness to downsize when times were lean. As a folk-based musician, I was happy to play in folk clubs when I couldn't afford a band. Sometimes I survived as a session guitarist. I certainly felt discouraged sometimes, but I've always been fairly optimistic, and better things were usually waiting around the corner.

Richard, thanks for adding more "All request shows" including New York City. I don't suppose you could re-learn, between now and October 21, either "Push And Shove" or "The Egypt Room" (or both) ? :-)


Are any songs "off limits" for requests? Thanks, an east coast "all-request" fan

Just those two.

Ohhh - I just saw that you are going to perform with Loudon - but in the States! Do you reckon there would ever be a chance of that happening over here (i.e. England) too? You two have to be the premier singer/songwriter talents over the last couple of decades - what a joy it would be to see you together. Cheers, Simon


What is the significance of a 'ring for your right (as opposed to left) hand' in 1952 Vincent Black Lightening. Does wearing the ring on the right hand make it some sort of 'promise (or pre-engagement) ring', or an engagement ring worn on the right hand? It's obviously demonstrating some sort of commitment; what's the cultural reference? (One of the things I love about your music is that I can generally understand the lyrics!) Judith Reymond

In folk music, the ring always seems to be placed on the right hand. I could speculate that this is to show trustworthiness, the left being the weak/evil side (latin sinister), or it could be the Catholic tradition, a lot of old songs perhaps predating Protestantism, or coming more recently from Catholic Ireland.

There is, of course, no comparison between the intelligence, humor and invention of the RT song and the music of Steely Dan. However, I reckon that the original correspondent who equated the two had listened to Hide It Away from You? Me? Us? and figured the keyboard was a bit like Do It Again from Can't Buy A Thrill. So it's Mitchell Froom's fault this all came up in the first place. What do I win? Matthew Rose, San Antonio, TX

I think Do It Again is an intelligent and humorous song, and the keyboard parts don't sound remotely alike, so you win bugger all.

Any more projects planned with Henry Kaiser?

Nothing just now.