May Answers, Part II
6/22/2010 (updated 6/22/2010)

Re: Australia
Hi Richard – when do you think we’ll see you over here again? Simon

When the economy picks up, hopefully soon. I love Australia.

Any chances of a proper cd re-release of the Doom & Gloom cassettes through the website? I'm sure many die-hard fans would appreciate it. Thank you. Alfredo Marziano.

I’ll look into this.

Re: "Mirror Blue" Solo Performances
Prior to the official release of "Mirror Blue", Richard performed a good number of the songs solo on West Virginia Public Radio's Mountain Stage. I recall at least two different shows, one broadcast from Boise, Idaho and one from Charleston, West Virginia. Please confirm that these terrific performances will be made available to the legions of eagerly awaiting fans of Richard in unaccompanied, "Unplugged" mode in the near future. Thanks, Jon

I think Mountain Stage own their own recordings, but it may be possible to get them. I’d need to hear them to see if our opinions of the quality are in agreement.

Richard – In a couple of recent inquiries about extra songs showing up on CD releases of original LPs, you’ve commented that the songs were left off the original recording because they weren’t good enough. However, is that always the case or have you sometimes excluded a song or songs because of the space limitations on an LP? A lot of fans do look at those CD “extras” as a bonus although my experience with them has been mixed quality-wise. From another angle, did the advent of the CD change your approach to writing & recording? Do you feel obligated to offer up 60+ minutes of music now (e.g. do you hold off recording until you have enough material for 60-70 mins.) or do you look at the extra recording space as an opportunity? Some critics lament that some artists do feel “obligated” to use the space sometimes with mediocre material.

The fact that you can run to 80 minutes on a CD means that you’ll probably go for an extra track or two over the old LP format. Is this a good thing? Yes, if you have something to say, no if it’s filler. I used to enjoy listening a block of 18 minutes – one side of one artist. That seemed a good chunk to me. Now people listen a lot on shuffle, which is quite fun. With the CD format, there are less unreleased songs, of course. Perhaps I should be braver, and put out shorter records.

On a totally unrelated note, both your Kings & my Wings are out & by the time you answer this we’ll likely know the Cup finalists. Are you following anyone else? Personally I’m ABP – Anybody but Pittsburgh. They’re playing Gm. 7 against Montreal as I type. Brian Hayes, Ottawa ON

I watched Montreal play the Kings at Staples Center late in the season, and thought they were a great defensive team, and were going to be a real handful in the playoffs. I did think Pittsburgh would prevail in the East, though. I got Chicago right, and figured that they would beat any Eastern team.

Dear Richard - I was just lamenting the fact that you haven't used any early music instruments such as crumhorns on your recent albums or tours, and now I see on your website that you're doing a show with Phil Pickett! Unfortunately, I'm in Connecticut and the gig's in the Netherlands! Is this just a one off, or are you likely to tour with it? I think the mix of early music consort and rock band works really well! How did you first discover instruments like the shawm and crumhorn? Lisa Krieger

I think what we did on Bones Of All Men was very successful, as a blend of Early and Rock. The Nutmeg and Ginger show will be purely acoustic and Elizabethan. There are more dates announced, and perhaps this show can travel further. Back in Fairport, Swarb played me a David Monroe album, which I loved. I knew the guys in Gryphon in the early 70s. Richard Harvey and Brian Gulland played on the Bright Lights album.

Also, I can't help but ask if there's any potential for a Fairport Full House reunion or at least if there's any possibility that the Swarbrick/Thompson songwriting team will ever reunite. I've heard that you're not terribly fond of composing with others, but I can't help but wonder what would have happened if you and Swarb had kept writing songs like "Sloth."

It was fun to compose with Swarb, and I think we came up with some unusual songs. Geography is the biggest obstacle to writing together at this point. When we wrote together, we were living in the same house and sharing the same bathroom! Swarb chose not to be a part of the Full House line up last year at the Barbican, so I don’t know how he feels about this kind of reunion.

Finally, I'm sure you get this question a lot, but will "First Light," "Sunnyvista," and "Strict Tempo" ever see the light of day again? I managed to track down some used vinyl copies recently, and "Civilisation" is one of the coolest songs I've ever heard! In the meantime, I hope to catch one of your solo gigs next time you come to the east coast, and I can't wait to hear the new electric live album! Sorry to pack so many questions into one email, but I've been meaning to send one of these for awhile. Niles

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