Q&A December, Part I
1/19/2011 (updated 1/19/2011)

I liked the "John Faustus, Doctor of Divinitie" video from Nutmeg & Ginger in Antwerp. If the show would be recorded and released I would buy it!


I haven't read any talk about "Sweetheart On The Barricade". It's a fantastic song. I hoped it would be included in the songbooks, but unfortunately it's not. Could you write down the chords (and tuning) here?

I don't know how this got left off the songbook - it will have to go in the next volume. Here roughly are the chords:


|| Am / / / | B over A / / / | Dm over A / / / | Am / / / | / / E aug E |


| Am / E / | Am / Dm / | Am E / | Dm / / / | Am / Dm over A / | B over A / / / | F / / / | / / / / |


| C / F / | C / F / | Am / Em | F / / / | C / F / | C / F / | Am / Em / |
| F / / / | Dm / Em / | F / Em / | Dm / E / | Am / / / | B over A / / / |
| Am / / / | / / E aug E |


| F / / / | / / / / | C / / / | / / / / | F / / / | / / / / | D7 / / / | / / / / | / / / / |

Were you consciously aiming for the dance floor (and the charts) when you recorded "Don't Let a Thief Steal Into Your Heart"? Many bands/artists, such as Rolling Stones and Kiss, recorded a few disco songs in those days. It's a great song! Linus Johnson

I envisaged it a bit more Motown, but when the band (Willie Weekes, Neil Larson, Andy Newmark) started playing it, it came out disco, and I was too shy/embarrassed/enjoying it to tell them to go in another direction.

The song Beeswing in Vol 2, is it fully Tabbed out? Many thanks, Ian

It's partially tabbed. Under the verses there is a lot of repetition, so we assume you have the general idea by that point.

Have you ever played in Jersey or any of the other Channel Islands? Jamie Taylor

I have a dim memory of Fairport playing in Jersey in the 60s, but I could be confusing it with a camping holiday I did with my mates in 1965. Certainly nothing else on any of the islands.

Some great electric guitar on Dream Attic, but my favorite electric solo in the RT catalog has to be the final ninety seconds of "That's All, Amen" from Mock Tudor. Not the most "show-offy" solo in the catalog but it fits so perfectly in the context of the song and the guitar tone is so beautifully rich and deep. Two questions related to this: 1) the solo fades out at the end while it is still going strong. Any tapes of the rest that might show up on an extended version some day in some compilation? and 2) Have you ever played this song in concert? It's one of my favorites (poignant lyric about the fragility of memory) from my favorite RT CD (most consistently strong in my view). Thanks. RB, USA

As I have explained before, the tracks usually disintegrate just after the fade. In this case, I don't remember it going on much past that point. The song was played in concert on the tour supporting the album, but it never sounded as good as the record, for reasons I don't understand.

Re: Speaking of Influences
Hi Richard,  Were you a fan of Michael Bloomfield?  Did you see or meet him when the Paul Butterfield Blues Band toured England in Oct./Nov. 1966?  Did his playing influence your playing? Thanks, John Ivey

I saw the Butterfield Band at the Refectory, Golders Green, on that tour - I think I went with Simon and Ashley. We were impressed! Bloomfield had great tone, and terrific vibrato. Being a bit of a snob at the time, I thought he was less slavish an impersonator of other Chicago bluesmen than the English guitar gods.

I've just got the Walking on the Wire box set and have noticed slight but definite "sound" differences between the box set, the original Capitol-era albums and the Capitol "best of", e.g., "1952 Vincent Black Lightning". Overall, I'd say that the Capitol-era material on the box set sounds more like the Joe Boyd-produced "Across A Crowded Room" than the Mitchell Froom-produced albums.  I don't always prefer one to the other but they are different.

How much of this is real and how much imagined on my part?  I'm not a musician, so I don't have the vocabulary to explain myself, but is this due to "remixing" or "remastering" or something else?  How much input do you have into the "sound" on each released version of songs? Do you have a "sound" that you have consistently prefer, or does each version represent what sounded best  at the time? Are there additional differences in the "sound" from other periods of your recorded history on the box set that you can point out for your readers? Bob Palmer

Before final mixes of albums or singles are transferred to whatever the format is - let's say it's to CD - they are mastered. This is usually done by a mastering specialist, who will listen to the overall EQ of the music, and add or subtract whatever he thinks is needed. This often includes some compression, but he can also add brightness if it sounds dull, and balance the low end, etc. The aim of the record producer and engineer is often to take to the mastering engineer something that doesn't need any work at all, but however good the studio monitors are, they may flatter or deceive at a particular frequency, and working on a record for weeks or months may lure you into getting used to a certain colouration of sound, so it may need tweaking. Every time a track appears on a compilation, it will be remastered for that compilation, and will sound slightly different. Also bear in mind that the technology may have changed; early digital remastering of Beatles tracks wasn't as good as more recent versions, for instance.

Analogue tape mastered to vinyl may still be some people's fave, but digital mastering now gets closer. It comes down to taste at some point. On the box set, you have music from all different eras, some scratchy live stuff, and it all has to be blended and made to sound like a whole.