EMAIL THE BEEKEEPER
Answers to those tricky questions, Part II
8/9/2008 (updated 8/9/2008)

In my candid opinion the best version of your band includes, Earl Harvin and Rory McFarlane; have you considered playing more gigs with them?

Both unbelievable musicians, just a joy to play with, but they were always stand-ins for the regular band. I feel very privileged to have worked with so many great rhythm sections, but right now Iím very happy playing with Michael, who is on superb form, and Danny/Taras in the bass chair.

At the Royal Festival Hall you mentioned bringing the 'Thousand Years' show to the UK next year. Sounds like a great idea - are you really doing this?

Yes, touring the UK in Jan/Feb 09.

I was at The Roundhouse in London last year which I thought worked well as a venue, I liked being part of a standing audience for a change. Seated audiences can be a bit too well behaved for my liking - do you have a preference?

I agree that a stand-up crowd has more energy, and in most cases I would rather play to that, but I am conscious of the advancing median age of the audience, and so most shows are seated these days (with easy toilet access).

You were saying that in London you like to move around a bit. Have you ever considered doing a show at the Royal Albert Hall? Best wishes, from Anthony Wharton

We played the Albert Hall about ten years ago. I love it, but itís big (6,000 seats), and sometimes too big for me to fill.

I have long wondered who the whistle player is on the Shaky Nancy track of Henry the Human Fly - all the other instrument players are acknowledged - but not whistle - which surprises me because to my ear, it is an extraordinary piece of whistle playing. It sails - it is not restricted by the traditional style of whistle playing - and is one of my favourite examples of non-standard use of the instrument. I'd love to know if he/she has any other recordings. Thanks, Barbara Scott

The whistle player was your correspondent. I was probably just negligent in listing the whistle on the credits, as opposed to self-effacing. I am an occasional whistle player, and short of practice just now. Yes, I do have some other recordings.

Sorry if this a repeat, but any plans to re-release "Two Letter Words"? This collection has a great group of songs, and my favorite versions. I use this as a CD to turn people on to your music. Loved the electric tour last year! Denny Cornett III

Planning to re-release ASAP, should be available in a couple of months.

Could you be so kind to tell us what the tunings are for "Mingus Eyes" and "Bathsheba Smiles"? I suspect the latter is in standard, but the former has me quite stumped. Cheers, Tim Hart in Chicago

ĎMingusí is in CGDGBE, then capoed to 4th. And played in B.
ĎBathshebaí is drop D.


I was working at a music store in the late 70s and early 80s, and along the way I acquired a vinyl copy of "Live (More or Less!)". It probably sat on my shelf a while, because I didn't know sort of treasure was inside. My first listening of the long live versions of "Calvary Cross" and "Night Comes In" were completely shattering. I'm not a musician...I'll never completely digest just how and why certain music enthralls us, but those two epic pieces are very important to me. I still own the vinyl copy but I would like to know if there are any plans for CD re-issue.

This is owned by Island Records, and I donít know if they have any plans for it.

I'd like also to know in general how musicians feel about having their work exposed on YouTube. I'm sort of familiar with copyright and I realize there might be some legal entanglement, but I have certainly learned more about some of my favorite artists via that medium. Before purchasing "Live From Austin, TX" and "Sweet Warrior," I knew very little about Danny Thompson (I own a lot of music and his name appears here and there) and nothing of Michael Jerome. Listening to them, checking Wikis and watching them play on YouTube helps me know them a little better. DT's bass-growl on "Mingus Eyes" is unnerving. I really like the stripped-down-but-not-solo performances on these albums. Thank you very much. Alan Kell, Texas

Viacom are going after YouTube right now, and the outcome may mean royalties for those featured, which seems a just thing, but it would surely affect the content. Iím happy for it to be a promotional tool for music, but if YouTube are getting all their content for free, and making vast gobs of money, they may as well spread it around a bit.

'Francesca' on Sweet Warrior is distinctly ska, and you've been known to break into 'Uptown Top Ranking' in concert. Do you listen to a lot of reggae or ska?

Iíd say itís Rock Steady really, with a Scottish melody. I listen to Caribbean music as part of a healthy balanced diet.

Secondly, me and my mate have been wondering this for years, but as a couple of grumpy old buggers at parties we were curious if you're much of a dancer or do you prefer a nice sit down? Thanks! Rich Johnson, Burntwood, GB.

I love to dance. Most musicians donít, because theyíre always playing for the dancers, but Mrs. RT and I are very fond of a twirl.

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