A's to Q's, Part I
10/18/2006 (updated 12/13/2006)

This is a performance-related question.  I play guitar in a duo.  A while ago, we decided that I would play Banish Misfortune (in DADGAD just like you play it) then segue directly into CooksFerry Queen (singer does is in D of course).  I substitute a variation of Banish Misfortune's "A" section for where the lead break on CFQ would be, to keep it stylistically similar.   Then as CFQ is ending, I segue out to a Banish Misfortune reprise, usually one time through.  Some listeners like it when we do this; others say that one has to be careful mixing musical styles and periods.  This rendition sounds ok to me, but I'm wondering what I am missing here?  Can you please give your thoughts to a practicing musician here.  What wouldn't work?Many thanks!! Bill M, Kensington, MD 

Bill, I rather like the sound of this medley, and may steal the idea off you some day! It is not clear whether you are leaving jig time to go into straight time for CFQ, but either way I think it will work nobly, and to hell with the doubters and naysayers. Thank you for the cover version. 

I was sitting on a bus today listening to your music (as one does) when the most beautiful girl you have ever seen (well, that I had ever seen at any rate) got on. Words defy her. She was the most stunning and elegant creature conceivable. She wasn't made up or gaudy, but she had a natural sort of radiance about her. So, being fresh out of the Last Romantic Affliction, I took the opportunity to fall madly in love with her. As one does. I do like falling in love with people on the bus. I used to do it a lot, but for months I have been far too tied up with Last Romantic Affliction to be open to such omnibusal flights of fancy. But being emancipated from that, I am now open once again to quite possibly the most pleasant and uplifting pastime there is in public transport. The pleasant thing about it is that it has all the intensity and freshness of falling in love properly, but without all the heartache and stuff. This is mostly because a few days later I will realise I cannot remember her face and get over her very neatly; but at the moment I am free to stare wistfully at the sunset and think about what I ought to have said to her and suchlike. And I am sure I could not have bought on this evocation were it not for your delightful melodies in my ears, so thanks for that.Yours impatiently (for I cannot wait for you to come to Brighton again). Edward Sibley (aged 17, if you can believe it) 

Not really one for the question page, but I just liked the story. My only comment would be – Edward, my boy, enough of the romantic dreaming – it’s time to date these visions of loveliness. 

This is a very belated response to your question about slinky jazz guitarist Mimi Fox- no, I'm not her - the disappointment is always palpable!  But back to New Mexico, I know it's off the beaten track, but for any location, if devoted fans hustle up enough other devoted fans to make enough for a concert, will you come?  I'm sure it takes local promoters and sponsors and all those things behind the scenes things the average person is clueless about (not to mention the buckets of money required).  As you can see, I'm not easily accepting the notion of going from 3 or 4 of your concerts a year to none! Thanks. Merely mortal Mimi 

We don’t think any less of you for being merely mortal, and NM is a state we often route through on bus tours – perhaps next Spring with the band? 

Where did Richard get that great kit bag shown on the Old Kit Bag album photos?

Prada not good enough for you? It was all of 5 bucks at Supply Sergeant, Lincoln Blvd. Santa Monica. Tell them Kowalski sent you. Isn’t there always someone in the platoon called Kowalski? 

I'm sure I am not the only one to ask if there is any hope of a full version of the solo Adieu, Adieu broadcast as part of the Folk Britannia series on BBC4. As you know, there's a short downloadable video clip on the BBC web site, but the full thing would be welcomed by so many ... how about it? Cheers, Peter 

I haven’t seen it, and I don’t know where they took that from – I sing it at sound checks, and in the bath, and I don’t think my version is anything special, although it might be my favourite song in the whole world. We learned it from Cyril Tawney back in Fairport days. If it seems worthy, I’ll look into it, but it’s hard to get stuff out of the BBC. 

I’m hugely enjoying 1000 years – have watched it every night for nearly two weeks now. I’m writing this about Bonnie St. Johnstone – you wondered what the appeal of cruel mother ballads is. I worked in a maternity hospital before and after abortion became legal in Australia. The number of babies for adoption dropped to zero pretty quickly. I take it that the song is about a young woman who has been jilted by her lover (the oak – similar theme in the water is wide) and left pregnant (the thorn). She still lives in her father’s house (looked over her father’s wall). I wonder how often young women in that predicament (or their families) resorted to infanticide to solve their problem? Perhaps the fact that someone wrote a song about indicates it was a significant issue in earlier days. Christina 

Good points. Thanks for sharing your insight with us. 

Richard - I attended your concert last night in Milwaukee.  I really enjoyed the new songs - Dad's Gonna Kill Me, the Sunset Song (did I forget one?) - and thought you took Valerie to a very special place.  My question is:  during the show you said "it's nice to be back in Milwaukee..."  When you visit a city like Milwaukee - lately I'd guess once every year and a half or so - do you actually get a chance to see anything but an airport/highway, hotel rooms and concert venues?  How do you decide whether you like a place?Thanks, Marty Traynor 

‘Nice to be back in Milwaukee’ indeed…what a smooth talker I am. I miss the old days when we used to stay a week at a time in towns on US tours, get to know our way around, develop some friendships…I know bits of Milwaukee, some of the lakeside, some of the river…I know a four hundred yard radius around three or four hotels, and those circles might intersect here and there. But I don’t ‘know’ the town, and I’m sure there is a town to know beyond the breweries. I don’t drink, and it did occur to me on my last visit that I hadn’t heard the name Shlitz for a while – did that which Made Milwaukee Famous go out of business, or am I wearing the blinkers of temperance?