April/May Q&A - Part Two
7/1/2007 (updated 7/1/2007)

I really like the track you did with Barney Salzberg, "A Song for Pete." I grew up during the folk scare of the late 50s, but heard little of Pete Seeger (except as translated through the Byrds or Peter Paul and Mary) until I was an adult. Had you heard Seeger in the UK? Did your kids listen to any of the Seeger songs referred to in the song? Thanks.

I think they played a bit on the BBC, and I probably got a lot second-hand at school, and from the UK ‘visible’ folk entertainers. It seems I’ve known the name forever, but I can’t remember seeing Pete on TV, for instance, in the 50s.

The front page of Beesweb has a picture of RT with another guitar I've never seen him with before - this one a lovely looking light colour hollow body. Is it a Gretsch?

This is a Peerless, manufactured in Korea. Fred Walecki, who runs my local music haven, Westwood Music, bought up a bunch of the prototypes for this model at a trade show, figuring that the manufacturing standard would probably drop away once the orders were rolling in. The price was v. reasonable, and it sounds terrific – it probably cost a tenth of what you would have to pay for a Gibson Switchmaster.

It's fantastic to know that we're gonna see you return to Cropredy again this year with a host of other fabulous artists to celebrate it's 40th birthday. Any chance you could round up Teddy to make an appearance? It would be wonderful to see you both there...see you at Cropredy! - Carrie

I’ll see if he’s in the country…

What I have always admired about your playing is the way the guitar solo reflects the song in terms of mood. You have the ability to make a guitar sound angry and bitter, as well as accurately conveying the more softer emotions. It isn’t necessarily about speed of playing, but more note choice, tone and feel. Is there anyone else who you admire who you think does something similar? (Doesn't have to be guitar) To be honest, most solos I hear tend to be bolt on jobs, often flashy technique, but of little or no relevance.

You’re completely tuned in to what I‘m trying to do – you give me too much credit for achieving it. Good examples would be:
Lester Young with Billie Holiday
Joe Pass with Ella Fitzgerald
Martin Carthy with Norma Waterson
BB King with himself
Louis Armstrong with himself

You say you live like a typical British ex-pat – do you listen to BBC Radio 4’s “The Archers”? Years ago Fairport’s name was mentioned but I can’t remember the circumstances! - Jamie

Maybe not that typical. I’ve been trying to tune The Archers out of my life since, oh, 1952. Simon Nicol, on the other hand, is a devotee – perhaps it was he who wangled a mention on the hallowed prog. I do listen to a lot of Radio 4 though – I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, for example – and of course Test Match Special on 5 Live.

I'm curious as to whether Richard uses nails, flesh/nails or (I doubt) just bare fingertips for playing guitar. What about wear and tear; do hard playing and a full schedule take their toll? I think we should be told. Max Cuthbert.

I use fairly short nails, and play with the flesh. I prefer the tone, and keeping a full set of nails up to scratch (sorry) is too tough with baggage carousels, hiking socks, and bowling balls.