October Answers, Part III
11/7/2009 (updated 11/7/2009)

Thomas Casagranda here: I wish to know what you think of Bob Dylan's new album: "Christmas In the Heart"? Thanks

I’ve not heard it, but I hear alarming reports.

I'm looking forward, patiently ... very patiently.... to the release of the songbook but the thing I'm really after right now won't be in it....I'm usually ok at working out melody by ear but, for some reason, am completely stumped trying to work out your mandolin solo on John Martyn's "Over the Hill". There's a geezer at my local pub session, in Sheffield, who does a great rendition of the song and is desperate for me to play mandolin on it. Any chance of some tab or even a pointer or two? Cheers! Mark Pugh, Sheffield

I’m not set up for mandolin TAB just now. If I remember, I was playing a simple riff based on a C chord. 1st finger, 2nd fret 3rd string, and 2nd finger, 3rd fret 2nd string. Keeping the first finger still, lift the second finger leaving the 2nd string open, playing the 6th part of the chord, and fret it at the 5th fret, 2nd string, playing a 9th part of the chord. Sounds way more complex than it is.

Beeswing is a wonderful work of art which I enjoy tremendously.  However, I was wondering if there is any irony in the lyrics.  Specifically, the heroine in the song is unable to make a commitment to love.  She'll stay "as long as there's no price on love."  When you wrote it did you have any thought that the heroine was a less than desirable person with whom to attempt a long term relationship? You seem not to be engaging in irony when you sing "And I miss her more than ever words could say." I think of Billy Joel's "She's Always a Woman to Me."  Lyrics like "she lies like a thief" etc. have always made me wonder why someone would want to be involved with such a person. Perhaps I'm giving this too much thought but I was wondering what your thought processes might have been when you wrote the song. Sincerely, Paul Armel

Definitely thinking too much. Does she mean what she says? Partially, and a bit tongue in cheek, if you ask me. 

Richard performed a song last night in Greensboro (wonderful show..thanks!!!) that had to do with a miserable tour of America in 1971, I believe. I can't seem to find the song on the website by searching some of the lyrics I remember....something about an English Pub  with folks with Eyes like daggers, a club called the Poison Apple, beer being "too fizzy". Can you help me find the song? Thanks so much, Rich Powell

The song is called 'Hopscotch Over America', as yet unrecorded.

In an NPR interview on October 11, 2009, with Nick Hornby regarding his new book, Hornby was asked, "How would you describe the music your character played before he walked away from the business in 1986?" His response was, "Well, I would guess that he is one of those singer-songwriter guys, so, you know, sort of Dylan, Jackson Brown, Richard Thompson, that sort of thing.  That sort of intelligent, slightly, pained world-weary rock music."

How do you think Dylan and Jackson Brown feel being included in your esteemed company?

They should be thrilled and delighted, and glad they handed over those big envelopes. World-weary? I could kill myself right now just thinking about it.

A second question...I wonder why you sing so often of soldiers and war.

I ask myself the same question. I think it’s to understand various generations of a very bellicose century.

Hello Team (or 'you'), At Cropredy this year I thought I heard alternate lyrics to Hand of Kindness. I've read on another forum that Simon Nicol reckoned they were written on a sheet by the monitors as an aide memoire. I wondered if it were possible to ask (a) what the new lyrics were and (b) why they were rewritten? Very Best Regards, Shane

I’ve never been happy with those words, so I thought I’d change it up a bit. As follows:

I was living it fast
I was living it loose
Next thing I know
My neck’s in the noose
O stranger, stranger
It’s nearly that time
You stretch out your hand
I stretch out mine

If I’d just paid attention
I’d seen it for sure
Six in the morning
That knock on the door
And they called me a Jonah
It’s a sin I survived
You stretch etc.

Shoot that old horse
He’s gone in the knees
While you’re about it
Save one for me.
If I’d just paid attention
I’d have heard the dogs whine
You stretch etc.