Answers to May Questions, Part II
6/1/2008 (updated 6/1/2008)

I understand you live in Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles. I have this romantic notion that you and my other favourite guitar gods (Ry Cooder, David Lindley, Albert Lee, Bill Frisell) hang out together when you all meet irregularly for coffee and discuss all things stringed-perhaps Cooder is showing you all some Cuban/World thing and you are showing the ďladsĒ a little known Scottish reel-Lindley no doubt is demonstrating some obscure Appalachian mandolin tuning etc. Does this type of camaraderie existing amongst you guitar legends or do you very rarely come in contact with each other or take an interest in what each other is up to guitar wise? WILL EVANS, Beckenham,Kent

Most musicians, when they come off the road, like to pull up the drawbridge and get back to their stamp collecting/gardening/family. Itís more at parties or dinners that the guitars come out and a jam may ensueÖthere was a party at Loudon Wainwrightís a year or two ago, for instance, where I was playing alongside Loudon, Geoff Muldaur, Christopher Guest, and a few others I canít remember. Or at guitar shops Ė Chris Hillman was in Westwood Music, and we got to play a few bluegrass classics together. Iíd say Ry is a recluse Ė Iíve never seen him out and about, even though he lives about 500 yards away. Lindley lives way over in Claremont, about 90 miles. Albertís up in Malibu, but Iím more likely to see him at an airport. Bill Frizell I donít know.

I would like to ask Richard if he composes his songs in standard notation (did he study music?) or if he uses a computer program. I would also like to ask him which of his songs he most pleased with. Regards, Bob Seymour, Falmouth, Cornwall, UK.

I write out melodies in a way that I might remember them, which is usually melody line and chord symbols, which will give me enough information to recreate it. I studied formal music a bit as a kid, and Iíve slowly learned more over the years, Part 2 of your question is unanswerable Ė it would be a different answer every day, perhaps every hour, and some days I hate them all.

Your work on A Sailor's Life and of course Sandy Denny's vocal are as haunting now as the first time I heard them too long ago. The song, with a setting by Ralph Vaughan Williams, is included in the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, as collected from a Suffolk man around the end of the 19th Century. The notes make it clear that variants of the song have been reported not just from across England but the United States too. Where did Fairport find it? And was it you who found it? Thanks, Nick Gammage - Amersham, England

You might need to ask Ashley this question, but as I recall, Sandy learned it from Martin Carthy. Iím basing this on a memory of Martin coming to a Fairport rehearsal in London, after we had started to perform it. Martin picked up Simonís Gibson ES175 (Iím not sure heíd played electric guitar before Ė this was pre-Steeleye) and was demonstrating to Sandy the importance of the lowest note of the tune:

ĎAnd if I donít have him *Iíll* have none at allí

which seemed to be continuing a previous teaching session.

Just a follow-up: Which guitar player(s) might you have added to the Beatles?

In a real sense Macca was the ideal guitarist for the Beatles. The ĎTaxmaní solo is phenomenal, and what a tone! If you had to draught someone in, I suppose Mile Campbell or Robbie Macintosh might have the right sensibility.

Hello - we were at the Royal Festival Hall on Saturday night and the concert was amazing - thanks very much. We loved the solo version of Who Knows Where the Time Goes, and wonder if there is a recording of this that we can buy, and if not, whether there are any plans to include it on an album in the near future? Cannot wait for the next concert in London!

Iíve only performed it a few times, really as a tribute to Sandy, whose version, of course, is untouchable, and I donít think Iím comfortable recording it.