RT Discussion List Q&A - One
1/11/2007 (updated 1/12/2007)

Brought to you by Richard Thompson For Completists

Paul Woods/Keith Turner:
- Each year around December the fun-loving folk on the RTList compile lists of their three most-enjoyed albums of the past twelve months. I think that the year of issue of the album is not strictly adhered to (i.e. it can be "New to me in 2006"), and despite warnings to limit choices to three, many people find this so hard that they include quite a few "honorary mentions".

Judy Smith compiled a spreadsheet of _all_ this year's choices (Top 3s AND Honorary Mentions), the logic being that it's often illuminating/interesting to see what other music is enjoyed by fellow fans of yourself. The list is viewable here:

So I hope you don't mind a Desert Island Discs sort of question:
- What would you say were your top three CDs of 2006 (in any order)?
- Any Also-rans?

RT: I'm guessing these are 2006, but I'd go for:

Geoff Muldaur - Beautiful Isle Of Somewhere
Jerry Lee Lewis - Another Place, Another time (reissue)
Waterson/Carthy - Holy Heathens and the Old Green Men
Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better

Robert Renton:
- Did the all-request shows bring up any songs that you particularly enjoyed performing, and will the list of songs selected affect your future live setlists?

RT: It was fun, as well as hair-raising and strange, and I did make a couple of memos to self, to work up better arrangements of a couple of things. I'd been meaning, for instance, to revive Missie, and suddenly there it was, forced upon me. Not sure I got the bridge right...

- By list reckoning, "Row Boys Row" is the only song from "Front Parlour Ballads" not to have been performed live. Is there any particular reason for this?

RT: No, except it's tough to sing. I enjoy the tune, and maybe this is another song I should get in shape to perform.

- Uncut reports that you and Teddy perform on the forthcoming Rufus Wainwright album. Do you turn down a lot of invitations to guest on other artists' work and what affects the decision either way?

RT: I mostly work on the records of friends. I'm not doing it for the money, and I don't want to end up on a session with people I don't know, spending hours on some tiny piece of anal music. Rufus' record sounded great - I particularly liked his string arrangements.

Scott Miller:
- There are now approximately 200 performance and interview clips with you on YouTube now, ranging from early Fairport to last year. All of the deleted "Across A Crowded Room" video (my favorite concert film) can be seen, as well as many TV appearances. What do you think of the YouTube phenomenon?

RT: The great thing about YouTube is - they can't shut it down, Wonderful for political stuff. The bad thing about it is - they can't shut it down, All that freedom of information is good up to a point, and if you're a music fan, it's a treat to see a bunch of stuff that might otherwise be obscure...but it does cut into the livelihood of musicians. Everyone who wants to see Across a Crowded Room, for instance, has probably already seen it, so there's less point in commercially releasing it. Universal shouldn't have kept it deleted for so long, of course, but they are a huge company, and don't notice everything in the catalogue.

Celia Mackinnon:
I've enjoyed watching the YouTube recordings of the Joni Mitchell tribute you participated in. I was especially enamored with your rendition of "Woodstock". You seemed to reach into the song and pull out parts that weren't there before. Any chance of you performing this at a show in the future?

RT: I think I've mentioned this before, but I had one hour only to prepare to sing Woodstock - the singer from the Stone Temple Pilots cancelled at very short notice. It was so short that I didn't have time to worry about it, and just played it off the cuff. Thank Heavens for autocues! If there was a virtue in all that, it may have been that I was coming to it fresh, and was reacting in real time.

Also, I was very excited to hear that you played my favorite Nick Drake song "Time has told me" at your recent all request show. Any chance of hearing this one again? It would be heaven!

RT: It might hot be! I only got as far as the bridge, and then foundered on the rocks of some half-remembered tricky chord changes. I could learn it up, but is that really what people want to hear? I know I was there, and all that, but I'm not Nick, and no-one sings or plays it like him. So maybe not Heaven - more like Hendon (a London suburb).

Michael Bowen:
Back when you wrote "Roll Over Vaughan Williams", would you ever have imagined that "live in fear" would become the official government policy of the U.S. and the U.K.?

RT: I was onto their tricks pretty early, wasn't I, Condy and Rummy and Dubya? Even in the 70s, I could feel the stirrings of the Neocons from my lowly bedsit in Tufnell Park (continued page 94)