The Unwound Third > Other Musical Interests

Richard Thompson deserves a knighthood

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For the RT fans out there Cheryl & I just spent a short week at RT's Frets & Refrains camp in the NY Catskills. We followed it up by attending his gig at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock on Saturday.

The camp was an all around positive experience. Richard was his usual funny and educated self and extremely open about what he does and how he does it, both from songwriting and guitar playing perspectives. I learned a lot, and recorded a lot of audio as he workshopped his approaches to guitar and songwriting.

As a sidebar, since the original posts on this thread I realized that I saw Fairport at the Country Club in 1969, just before Liege & Lief came out, and before Sandy was fired. Pretty great timing on my part.

The Levon Helm Studios gig was full on, RT working very hard and the audience responding accordingly. RT played solo for most of them, with backup from Zara Phillips on vocals on a few songs, and guitar backup for a few from Bobby Eichorn. Songs played, as I remember them were, in no particular order:

Walking On A Wire
Who Knows Where The Time Goes
Bones Of Gilead (maybe I imagined that one, it's been going around in my head recently)
Vincent Black Lightning
Keep Your Distance
Bathsheba Smiles
Don't Sit On My Jimmy Shands
Put It There Pal
My Rock, My Rope
If I Could Live My Life Again several more, some of them new-ish, some I just can't remember the titles. It was a very long and satisfying set.

Parlor Picker:
I'm half-way through Richard's autobiography, "Beeswing". I can recommend it, especially for those of us who followed Fairport from the early days on. As I said above, I used to go to Richard & Linda's gigs in London in the early 1970s. One of my dubious claims to fame is that on one occasion in the Shakespeare's Head pub in Carnaby Street, Richard introduced me to (great singer/songwriter/guitarist) Steve Tilston who had just wandered in.

I concur Michael, Beeswing is a great read especially for early Fairport fans. Or 'listen' in my case. I downloaded the audio book, narrated by RT, from

Richard is a real mensch. I really hope we can get back to Frets & Refrains again next year. Made a lot of new friends. Weather was fairly shit but everything else was totally excellent!


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