Q&A Part I
4/27/2005 (updated 4/27/2005)

Courtesy: Richard Thompson For Completists

Marc Bergman (Himeji, Japan):
Now that some time has passed since you began offering your music via the website, how pleased are you with the results in terms of the quality of what you've been able to release and the profitability of doing business this way? Has it gone the way you expected/hoped it would?

Hopefully, we are supplying something that the audience wants to hear, and are providing it on a regular enough basis. The web has been a great boon for 'niche' artists, allowing direct access for fans to musicians and vice versa. Combined with our relationship with Cooking Vinyl Records, I don't notice a lack of 'major' record label, financially or in terms of promotion. The quality of what we offer varies, but I think listeners understand that sometimes the performance takes priority.

How surprised are you by the praise and attendant sales figures for the Providence DVD?

I regret I've seen neither.

Sometimes one or two songs from each album seem to drop off the radar and vanish, leaving barely a ripple, either never or rarely performed by you in concert, examples being "That's All, Amen" (a personal fave of mine), "Hope You Like the New Me", and "First Breath". Is this because you yourself lose enthusiasm for the songs, because they may not have been as critically well-received as some of your other work, or because they just don't come across well live? Or a combination of those?

Some songs lose their lustre fairly quickly, some are hard to play live for a large number of reasons, and some get forgotten for absolutely no good reason. 'That's All' is a case in point for the latter, and should be revived on the next band tour, or I'll eat my plectrum. Some songs definitely fail the audience response test - in fact I'd say that's the number one disqualifier.

Is the "Parlour Ballads" part of the new album's title a sly reference to Stephen Foster's work?


What is one obtainable album that isn't very well known which you think is life-enhancing, which almost everyone should own?

I'm very fond of a compilation of French cabaret music, called 'Paris After Dark' - I forget the label. French music, if you are not allergic to fast vibrato, was great before Rock and Roll - 20s to 50s. Wonderful writers, singers, father brought a load of these back after the war, so I've been digging Charles Trenet and Jean Sablon since I was knee-high to a baguette.

During the course of choosing songs/performances for the Free Reed Box Set, which have been the subject of the most soul-searching for you, and debate or argument with others involved in the project?

Soul-searching? Moi? I've taken something of a back seat on this one. Nigel and Neil have done the considerable legwork, and I just make the odd flourish with the red Sharpie now and then. The main debate has been the contents of the bonus CD....