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August/September Questions, Part V
10/5/2009 (updated 10/5/2009)

In a recent interview you referred to the pickups in your Ferrington electric being glued in. Do you mean this literally – the pickups are glued directly to the body? Or do you mean “just not mounted on the scratch plate”?

I’m thinking that if the pickups are actually glued to the wood then life must get difficult for whoever maintains your instruments. Regards. Bob Dubery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Yes glue as in ‘glue’, and yes, tricky to change pickup positions, but a chisel comes in handy.

In reading CNN's interview with you published this week, I was tickled by the question about your playing Rock Band. I am a documentary producer in North Carolina and my immediate thought was how much fun it would be to film you playing Rock Band or Guitar Hero for the first time. Such sweet irony! What do ya say? Phil Daquila, Durham, NC, USA

I don’t think I said I PLAYED Rock Band, just that I had a song on Rock Band. I know nothing about it.

I recently played Cabaret of Souls to my wife who - unlike me - is a musician (and a classical one to boot). She was quite taken with the overture which she likened to Bela Bartok. Was this modern Hungarian composer in Richard's mind when he wrote the piece?

I suppose it ends up a bit Bartokian, but I am coming from a more British traditional angle, and trying to warp the harmonies a bit. During this Overture, the keepers of the underworld are performing very bad acrobatic tricks in clown costumes, so the music is meant to be rather deranged circus music.

On the subject of COS in general: How many people contributed towards the cost of the production? I would have thought this would be a good indication of how many die-hard RT fans are out there. Was the money raised anywhere close enough to cover the costs? Cheers, Wilfried from Austria

People are still contributing (see above) so it’s hard to get an accurate figure. There is still a considerable shortfall (also see above).

After the happy Ashes result this past summer, I was all set to ask for your response to the test. But now, given that cricket recently led to your broken finger, I'm compelled to ask, Was this a fielding or a batting injury?
 Best, John

I was fortunate to be at the Oval on the last day of the series (thanks for the ticket, Andy!). That was a strange Ashes. England were lucky to win, but Australia deserved to lose. England were brilliant about three times over 25 days, and that was enough to beat a not very good Aussie team, without Brett Lee and with Johnson misfiring. I think South Africa are now #1, with Aussies at 2 or 3. England at 4.

I was batting, against a slow bowler, but he threw down a faster one that I missed. My finger jammed against the bat handle. I’ve been berated by colleagues for my 20-year-old batting gloves, and will change them for something state of the art before I venture to the crease again.

Unanswered went my query as to UNISSUED RT material from the long-ago Bottom Line performances (tantalizingly sampled on the In Their Own Words CD). So I ask again, please, sir, are there other unreleased solo or joint performances (you backing Alvin or Arthur Alexander) lurking somewhere? The issued ones are too good to let any others slide into forgotten history. Thanks, Ed Leimbacher

Whichever radio station issued the CD would have the rest of the tapes. I have no access to these to answer your question.

Could you give us your account of the night Jimi Hendrix joined the Fairports onstage in that club in London at your expense? What were your impressions of him then? Did he comment on your guitar? Cheers, Kane

This happened on a few occasions, always, I think, at the Speakeasy Club. Jimi, like many musos at the time, would drive back to town after playing in Manchester or Birmingham, or wherever, and stop in for a meal and a drink. After a round or two, he would feel mellow, and want to play. On one occasion he played bass, otherwise he borrowed my guitar. Even though it was strung the wrong way round for him, it didn’t slow him down too much. He told me to raise my action to make it easier to bend the notes – James Burton told me to lower it. Jimi was a nice, shy, handsome man, quite charismatic.

I had the pleasure of seeing you in Salford some months ago. You told a joke that I've been trying to remember ever since and I wonder if you can remember it and re-tell it? It was about German/Italian/British-ness. There was a lovely switch in the joke and it referred to British humour, Italian flair and German efficiency..then reversed. Can you remember?

In Heaven, the English greet you at the door, the French do the cooking, the Italians provide the entertainment, and the Germans organize everything.

In Hell, the French greet you at the door, the English do the cooking, the Italians organize everything, and the Germans provide the entertainment.

Also, the female vocal/ pianist sang a welsh song of incredible beauty. Do you have a reference so that I can try and work out the tab? Keep up the good work Richard. Very best wishes. Michael Meaney

Judith Owen sang an Irish song, called ‘Sally Gardens’. The setting she plays is based on Benjamin Britten’s. There may be more info on her website.