A's for June Q's Part Three
7/3/2005 (updated 7/5/2005)

Do you ever come across Mike Heron/ Robin Williamson formerly of the Incredible String Band who reformed in various combinations recently? Didn't you play on at least Mike Heron's solo albums? Do you see much of Joe Boyd?

I haven’t seen Mike Heron since the 70s – about the time I played on ‘Smiling Men With Bad Reputations’. I see Robin from time to time – someone I admire greatly as a musician – superb harpist and a fantastic guitarist, and a real one-off. He’s become a great traditional Celtic storyteller, preserving an almost lost art. Those boys were World music way before the term was coined. I play ‘5000 Spirits’ regularly, still a wonderful record. I see Joe quite often – he was at the tribute to Bob Jones concert in Boston on May 20th.

Hey Richard
1) Will "First Light" & Sunnyvista" get a CD remaster?
2) Your credtied as playing on Sandy Denny's "Like AN Old Fashioned Waltz" and "Rendezvous". Which tracks did you play on?
3) The rear-sleeve of "Mock Tudor" does look a little like the Fotheringay back cover too - was that deliberate?
4) Is "Red Wine & Promises" your favourite song of Lal Waterson's? Cheers, Jamie

1) They will be when I can locate the masters – somewhere between the Chrysalis vaults and my house, they disappeared. These are the only records of mine that I own.

2) I can’t remember!

3) Heavens, no.

4) ‘The Scarecrow’ might be my favourite, but I like most of them.

I’ve seen you more than a few times in concerts break a string. On the Austin City Limits DVD you lost a string on Shoot Out The Lights. Which given that SOTL was a blistering solo, I enjoyed it just the same. I’m always wondering what’s Richard thinking, is he mentally compensating for the lost string or how does he still manage to deliver a blistering solo? When you loose a string, do you do anything different if it’s a blistering solo or a delicate acoustic solo? Do you practice for those situations? Cheers, Mark Z

Breaking a string is an opportunity to think differently, and can be a creative boon, in forcing the musician to use different avenues. It depends which string goes, of course – the higher strings are easier to deal with. The string I break most on acoustic guitar is the 5th, which makes such a racket as it grinds against the pickup that I usually have to stop and change it. Django broke strings all the time, and apparently never paused for a second. And it all pales besides Itzak Perlman, who broke a string a few years ago while playing a piece by Bach, and simply proceeded to finish the piece beautifully on the remaining three strings, to the disbelief of the audience. He said afterwards words to the effect that sometimes the musician has to work a little harder to earn his keep. Phenomenal.

since you live mostly now in Los Angeles i'm wondering if you've gone for dual citizenship, if for no other reason than to help with all the ins-and-outs of crossing back into the paranoid U.S.--have you managed to get some sort of improved right-of-passage, or do you suffer all the sling-your-shoes and follow-the-arrows problems we outraged and unfortunate Yanks must endure? cheers, ed leimbacher,

I did start the process of going dual, but 9/11 and the Bush years made me put it all on hold. I get treatment the same as everyone else at airports, and get humiliated no worse than anyone else, and it is a pain, but it is the reality of modern travel, and I feel for all those businessmen who have to do it 5 days a week, because it can add hours to the day’s journey. That fellow who put a bomb in his shoe has got a lot to answer for.

Dear Bee, saw a great show with Richard at HOB in New Orleans the night before Jazz Fess. I was wondering if a song I heard Richard do a few years back about Madonna and a Castle is available? Thank you for your time. kool running Ron Shapiro

The song is ‘Madonna’s Wedding’. This is not available anywhere at present – hopefully some of the more lighthearted numbers can be assembled into a CD in the future.