Questions and Answers I
1/19/2004 (updated 1/19/2004)

Albums recorded these days are certainly very clear, but I'm not sure they sound better, more pleasing to the ear, than records recorded in the late 70s, early 80s. What's your opinion?

Recorded sound is so subjective, ultimately it comes down to what you like. I think digital works well for digitally produced music, tape sounds great on rock and clasical...the gap has closed though - the latest incarnations of ProTools ans 24 bit CD manufacture make it pretty darned hard to tell the difference, especially with some nice valves (TUBES) to warm up the interfaces. I really like early stereo, Adrian Boult conducting, recorded at Walthamstow Town Hall or such, perhaps a little Elgar. Or 50s/60s Deutsche Gramaphone. Or Peggy Lee at Capitol Studio B, orchestra arranged by Nelson Riddle. Some swear by Schnabel playing Mozart, 1929, all acoustic recording.

I always loved your live acoustic sound and was interested to hear that you are using a Line6 dealy modeler and a Uni Vibe in your effects chain. I happen to own both. Would you be willing to share your favorite settings and maybe comment on how you use them?

I think it's a matter of trial and error. I use an effects loop to avoid signal deterioration, and really just adjust settings till it sounds sweet. The Univibe could take over if you let it, so that needs a delicate touch to get the speed and pitch width sounding musical.

At the last show at IMac in Huntington, NY, I gave Simon a rare live CD of Louis Armstrong, recorded in Stockholm in 1952. Did you get it?

I did get it, thank you. Really lovely recording.

Was there actually a group called the "Killerman Gold Posse" (from French, Frith, Kaiser, Thompson disc 'Live, Love, Larf & Loaf') or is it just something from RT's imagination?

There was an actual gang called the Killerman Gold Posse, that made the English papers for terrorising commuters on the London Underground. I thought they deserved a theme song...

You (and DT) played on Nick Drake's album "Five Leaves Left". If possible could you go further as to what it was like meeting and playing with Nick? Were you friends? Did you play/sing on anything else together, as you two seem to have a similar vocal range. You and Nick Drake have to be the worlds most distinctive finger style players in my book....Oh by the way next time you tour the UK pleeease come and play Stoke-On-Trent's Victoria Hall in Hanley, lovely old venue, I'll bring a shed load of mates with me!!!

It's a tribute to Nick that people are still asking questions about him and his music 35 years on. I don't have any new answers, so at the risk of going over the same ground...Nick and Fairport shared a manager and a record company, so we saw him quite often. He didn't say much, but his amused expression was fairly eloquent for the 60s. I don't know anyone who sang with Nick, he wasn't that kind of musician, and very few really played with him live - I overdubbed onto Nick's tracks. I think he was a great guitarist, nice fingerstyle and good tunings. Trying to get to Stoke - my kind of town!

As a long time fan and I've been going to your concerts in the Denver/Boulder area for the past 15 years, and having seen some remarkable shows, I was wondering, why do you not release your concert CDs as a complete show rather than the current compliations? Some of your shows in Boulder have been remarkable and I would love to have a concert disk warts and all.

I suppose I hate the warts! Every show there are a few, usually less in Boulder thanks to the inspirational audience (smarm smarm). I'd rather record a few shows and compile. Also, we look at the songs and see if they've been released or re-released recently.

"We Sing Hallelulijah" - where does this song come from? I remember a friend having a complete "work" - like a passion play type of thing, on vinyl - with that song forming part of it, but I can't remember what it was called and who it was, whether a collaboration etc.

It's on the Bright Lights CD, but it was used in a play at the National Theatre, London (possibly Lark Rise to Candleford?) when the Albion Band were quasi-residents there.