INTERVIEW: NASHVILLE CREAM - Richard Thompson: The Cream Interview
2/9/2013 (updated 2/9/2013)

Richard Thompson: The Cream Interview

Thompson deserves that Americana songwriting award, and then some. Over the years, he's balanced black humor and straight-ahead lyricism, cynicism and idealism, and done it all with style. Electric may or may not be Americana, but it rocks hard, and Thompson's songwriting is at a peak. In late March, Thompson will embark upon a series of dates featuring his electric trio along with Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell. As you would expect from such an accomplished songwriter, he chooses his words carefully, and displays a dry sense of humor that is as bracing as his music.

You played guitar with Booker T. Jones on ''Green Onions.'' What was it like to play with him on that tune?

Well, that was the highlight of my year, or possibly decade. I bought the record in 1962, when it came out. And I thought, "Well, the least that he can do is allow me to do the Steve Cropper bit on 'Green Onions.'" That's a fair exchange, I think. I gave him, you know, 17 cents in royalties; at least allow me the honor. It was so much fun to do that, just great.

Do you have any ambition to play the Grand Ole Opry?

I'd love to, absolutely. I'm a long-time fan of country music. I was listening to it in 1965 and '66, at a time when it was deeply unfashionable in the U.K. Everyone else was into Otis Redding and the blues. I discovered a Hank Williams record, and I thought, "Wow, this is really something." And I kind of went off from there, to Lefty Frizzell and Webb Pierce. I love '60s and '70s country music.

Edd Hurt, Nashville Cream