Answers to those tricky questions, Part III
8/8/2008 (updated 8/8/2008)

In my ears you're one of the best guitar players ever! Your solo concert in Oslo back in august 2005 was very impressing indeed :-) A question: Of all your songs, witch will you consider to be the most blues influenced?! Arild Strømmen, Norway

Probably ‘Cooksferry Queen’, a song about a London rock and blues club in the 60s.

When reading your Q&A replies, I am always amazed at how similar our musical tastes are. We were born the same year, so i suppose we were exposed to the same influences. I obviously love Sandy, and she would always be my top female vocalist, but I wondered if you, like me, share a passion for Dusty? I had her poster on my bedroom wall in the 60s. Totally besotted. I also loved the wonderful Springfields too. Don't spoil the sequence. I know time and style move on, but I really don't see how anyone could fail to love her voice and impeccable choice of material. What say you? Peter Browne

Always a big fan, from the Springfields onwards. One of the great soul/pop singers. Not sure I’d have her on my wall, but there. As our tastes are so similar, I’m sure you also love Bruno Shultz, Ron Mueck, and Pig-Meat Robinson?

I was wondering if you posted the chords to your songs somewhere, I've been trying to figure out Poppy-Red for months, and it'd be amazing to play it. Thanks, Emilia Jones

Please let me have a rundown on the song ‘Don’t Let A Thief Steal Into Your Heart? Tuning and chords etc?

As a new fan (saw the set at the Jazzfest in New Orleans and was transfixed) I would love to get my hands on all the volumes of the songbook mentioned on your website. Any news on when they might appear? Cheers, Dave Wark

All in the upcoming song book. I’d say we’re a few months from publication. Sorry for delays.

As much as I admire your guitar work and songwriting, I think your singing is wonderful. Can you comment on your style or approach, if you think of it that way, and influences? Do you have any regime of exercises or preparation for your voice before a gig or session? I'm trying to progress from "shower awful" to "acceptable" as a singer. Thanks so much! Randal Son, Walla Walla Wa USA

I dealt with vocal exercises and warm up techniques in a previous Q & A. To progress from the shower, lessons are a good idea, whatever level you may be at. I’m sure you could find a teacher to suit the style you want to sing. Hitting the notes is one thing, but you also have to project, breathe, get your stomach working, etc,. and it’s a lot to figure out on your own.

I know you played mandolin on the John Martyn track Over The Hill ( Solid Air album ). Just wondered if you had any memories or opinions on Martyns music - especially his innovative 70's output which I'm a big fan of. Cheers, Gordon McKean, Glasgow, Scotland

I played on a couple of John’s records, in the late 60s/early 70s. Over The Hill was recorded at Olympic Studios, all live. I played on Sugar Cube, recorded at Sound Techniques, also live. I saw a lot of John when we both lived in London in the 60s, and were part of the same Island/Witchseason stable. I’ve seen very little of him the last 20 years. I’ve always been a big fan. My favourite style of his is acoustic solo, or with DT, where his true originality really shines through.

It's time for a couple Beeswing releases. How about something old and something new. I have a few suggestions. The spring 82 final tour with Linda is probably the most highly sought document of your career. I know it has a lot of emotional baggage, but we are all anxious for a release from your most legendary tour. How about the summer 91 band tour with Shawn Colvin. For the new release I would love something from the recent band tour or an acoustic release from the winter 2007 tour. Brad Fackler, Plymouth, IN

We are working on the 07 band tour, and the 91 band tour.

On XM 15 at about 1:00 am at 6/21/2008, you played a favorite song by John Hammond that I really liked. I would like to know the song title and album it came from please. I was driving so I could not write it down and my memory has failed me again. Thank you, David Webb

I was intending it to be ‘Jitterbug Swing’ from the ‘In Your Arms Again’ CD. Sometimes radio stations don’t have the requested CD, so something else gets played, and in the heat of the moment, I can’t remember if the right track was broadcast.

Looking forward to seeing you play again at Trowbridge. First of all I’d like to say what a brilliant inspiration you are to all aspiring guitarists/songwriters. Like many people I know, I have recently taken to doing open mics and I love the camaraderie they generally engender. OK, this is a bit guitar-technical but I attempt (rather feebly) to do several of your songs but was puzzled to see you playing Sibella in drop-D on one of your DVDs (Live in Austen). I have learnt it off Semi-Detatched in DADGAD and it seems to fit perfectly even down to the open string pull-offs in one of the breaks. Did you originally record it in DADGAD but play in drop-D on the DVD for the convenience of not re-tuning or am I incorrect in my original assumption that it was in DADGAD.

I play Sibella in drop D, acoustic or electric. It will work in DADGAD, generally speaking, because of the forgiving nature of the top 2 strings ringing modally over each chord. DADGAD is not a practical tuning on electric unless you use way heavier strings, or tune UP to EBEABE.

Also, what made you decide to use a thumbpick for Vincent Black Lightning as opposed to your usual plecky and fingers? Sorry to be such a guitar-nerd (but it’s what I am). John Clements, (57 but still feel 25 – apart from the creaking bones)

After 50 years of playing, my first and second fingers are still more flexible than my second and third. There are still things I can only do with 1 and 2.