Q&A August 2013, Part IV
9/5/2013 (updated 9/9/2013)

I've been looking more closely at your songs since attending Frets and Refrains and starting my own meager attempts at songwriting. I've been especially wondering(and studying all your songs with new enthusiasm) about both rhyming structure and 'phrasing' on 'When the Spell is Broken'- and I was wondering if you were intentionally 'back-weighting' your prominent measures and using a 'form of' ABBA to create 'extra unstable' framework or if you did that 'instinctually'? Thanks!, Sincerely, Lauren

I think it's all instinctive. If I were to do 'Spell' again, I would not bother finding rhymes for 'broken' - it's a bit too predictable and clumsy. I'd put a rhyming couplet with short lines before it each time, and just have 'broken' rhyme with itself at the end of each chorus.

Re: ps...Loved the lecture on Phrasing at F&R!!
Also wanted to say how much i loved your F&R lecture on phrasing and how that talk specifically has sent me on a major 'Journey' researching, listening to and soaking up as much music as I can to gain a better understanding and appreciation of that Art. Thanks Again!, Lauren

Re: The golden period & BE
A new CD of  Henry The Human Fly sealed with a 'made in Germany sticker' has just arrived in the Central Queensland post today. Marvellous.

I feel inspired to ask if you think it is possible anymore to make an album with that sound captured in those first three albums.* I also like very much the acoustic 2nd CD of You? Me? Us? and I suspect this was captured relatively quickly, as you have said the Bright Lights album was done. Is this revisiting of the sound of a golden period in British folk-rock an approach you might seriously consider taking in the future or has digital perfectionisms, realistic market expectations, a desire to not taint past historical associations and so forth rendered this concept impossible for you?

*After reading about how T-Bone Burnette's almost Appalachian sounding, self-titled album was recorded live in 4 days to 2 track during the 80s it suggests that if the same (currently 'retro'?) recording techniques you employed in the early 70s were applied today then it could still be done.

Well, if you hadn't noticed, I did my last CD 'Electric' on 16 track analogue, all tracks and overdubs recorded analogue. This is the same or very similar technology that we were using in the 70s. To me, it sounds different, because we play different, and we mix different. Also, because everything still has to end up as digits, the mastering is different. Bright Lights was a good-sounding record because of the playing foremost, then the studio and the engineering.

Another one to respectfully consider :-) (See, I'm inspired):

If the Creator put B and E together, spoke one Word (BE) and the whole universe came into being, and if rock musicians were to celebrate this in a style which emphasised the 'swing' or 'roll' rather than the 'rock' then would it need to be couched in something Westerners could relate to today, such as a hippie/gypsy bird rather than more conventional mystical imagery, to be viable if the artists wished to sell their music in a Western popular culture dominated marketplace, and, if so, then is this something you have found you have had to do during your career?... I'm thinking about the previous millennia, before independence and The Old Kit Bag... Alternatively, did the fall out from 911 simply spur you on to become more assertive in defending true Islam and innocent victims and Muslims in developing countries threatened by the subsequent wars, in songs such as Outside Of The Inside and Guns Are The Tongues?

Thanks and if that 2nd question is a bit too personal or close to the bone or else if you think it is just pure nonsense then I totally get it if a public forum isn't the place to answer/dismiss it. Warmest regards. Peter Mateer, CQ, Australia

One always tries to speak to the audience in a language they understand. I have no interest in defending anybody. I write songs as stories, and people can draw their own conclusions.

You appeared on a John Kirkpatrick album in 1972 as "Agnes Mirren". Are we talking Scottish football teams or upcoming young actresses here? Philip Ward

This was a name grabbed out of the ether - there were contractual issues. If they beatify Helen, will she become ... ?

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