Q&A October, Part V

Read any good books lately? Have you kept up with Ian Rankin’s Rebus books?

I read Ian Rankin occasionally, but not every one. I just read Conspirata by Robert Harris, his second historical novel about Cicero, which is terrific. It incorporates Cicero’s actual speeches in the Senate.

What was/will be your Halloween costume this year? Best, Pam

It was the hotel bathrobe – we were in such a dead part of town that night (a night off) that I stayed in and had room service.

Richard...thanks for the music. My 3 year old son is now a big fan...always asking for "Bonker Nose" and Valerie. Regarding Valerie, I'm trying to learn the bass line, but can't really figure out what is happening on the G. I'm going to bring my binoculars to the Northampton, MA show and learn. Any suggestions. Charles B. Powers, Ph.D. Clinical & Forensic Psychologist

Do you mean the bass guitar line or the bass end of the acoustic guitar arrangement? It’s all pretty straightforward. Sorry we didn’t play it in Northampton. It’s in the songbook series.

What is your attitude about music and drinking/drugs? Chris

Where you find musicians, you will find drink and drugs, sometimes to excess. They have both killed a lot of great talents, and destroyed the lives of many more. I swore off everything in 1974. Sometimes you can see a clear fork in the road, and I decided that I wanted to be a survivor.

What's your favorite Thomas Hardy novel.... Bill Golembeski...a fan and literature teacher. I teach Tess, but let's face it, Jude is such a great novel.

I would agree, Jude is probably the greatest, but I have a soft spot for the first one I read, The Trumpet-Major.

My gear questions are:

The Blue Strat sounds great. Hadn't seen or heard that one before. The rosewood fingerboard doesn't seem to hold back anything; It still bites pretty good! Mine is similar looking but with EMG's from the 80's. Any details on the White Tele?? Will a description of this guitar be added to the web site anytime in the future? If not can you say a little bit about it? It looked like a standard two(?) pickup set up with a white pickguard??? Can you tell me about the current amp set up for this tour? Looked like a "13"?? on the amp top. I am always amazed at how consistent yet distinctive the sound is from guitar to guitar especially in live performance. It ALWAYS has been a Great sound that just 'grabs you'. I had the privilege of being up close at Philly's Chestnut St Cabaret way back in the mid '80's on the "Across a Crowded Room" Tour. My first RT Band experience. Also was at Philly's Folk Fest for Fairport's Great visit in (I think) 1970. Folks danced in the Fields to Dave Swarbrick's great electric fiddle sound!! Thank You So Much! Dave & Terri

The blue Strat was assembled from various parts by Bobby Eichhorn – there should be a description on the gear page. The white Tele is on loan from Bobby. It has a contoured body and three pickups. I don’t have details of the pickups right now. The amp is a Divided By Thirteen, built by Fred Taccone. See gear page.

I grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and was raised on cornbread, molasses and good murder ballads. Any chance you could post up the chords/tuning for your version of "Bonnie St. Johnstone?" John

Assuming you know the words and tune? Drop D. Time is 3/4:

|| Bm / / | D / / | Em / / | A / / | Bm / / | D / / | Em / / | G / /|

Am / / | D / / | Em / / | A / / | / / / | Bm / / | D / / | Em / / |

G / / ||

Loved the BBC4 " Songwriters Circle " session the other day. Was intrigued by what I took to be an electronic tuner clipped to the head of Richard's guitar. Please could you tell me how I might get one of these, and while I am at it, I would also be grateful if you could tell me what kind of capo RT uses, looks much sturdier and more versatile than my old thing. Many Thanks, Roddy Barclay

There are many clip-on tuners available these days. You should go down to your local music shop and try some out. They all do basically the same thing, and sense pitch from the vibration passing through the instrument. Most are adjustable from about A 390 to A 450, and adjustable from six strings only to fully chromatic. Ask the dealer about reliability – some are a bit flimsy. The capos I use are G7 – made in the UK. A little more expensive, but work very well.

Congratulations for Dream Attic I look forward to seeing you and the band playing it live in January. Are there any plans to release a DVD of any of the concerts? On the same subject I've been trying to get a copy of 'Across A Crowded Room VHS' which is no longer available, is there any chance of this coming out on a DVD. Regards, Steve

No plans for a Dream Attic DVD at the moment. Across A Crowded Room is owned by Polydor, so I have no control over its release.

Dream Attic was recorded during a few west coast shows. I heard the band in Boston and they were rockin’. I really liked their versions of Richard's previous works and would like to know if the recording crew was prescient enough to record both sets each night when Dream Attic was recorded. These versions should definitely made available if they exist, maybe in a year from now. I would certainly buy the disc. Walter Hamilton

The second set was recorded, and may see the light of day at some point.