Fringe favourite says Connolly helped steer him on to musical and comedy success. And he admits he was inspired by seeing Connolly’s appeal with women.
Londoner Richard, now 64, was studying engineering in Paisley as a youth when he came across the Big Yin.
“I was doing my apprenticeship with Babcock & Wilcox and used to seek solace in a folk club,” says Richard, who is playing 22 different Festival shows this month at Edinburgh’s New Town Theatre.
“Billy was a resident it was just after his time in The Humblebums and when he came offstage all the girls used to chat him up and the boys would buy him a beer.
“I thought, ‘Those are the two reasons I went to college I think I’m doing the wrong subject’.
“He was a real inspiration and I think the biggest thing I learned was that I didn’t want to go into engineering.
“I wanted to get home and get stuck into being a musician.”
Richard also credits his old pal Steve Martin with helping shape his career after supporting Martin in the States before the Hollywood star hit the big time.
“He had a famous encore where he’d take the audience out into the street and show them how to steal a car,” explains Richard. “I’d never seen anything like that. It really opened my mind and pushed the boundaries.
“I added more comedy to my shows as opposed to being just another singer/songwriter.”
Richard is putting his 40-plus years of experience to the test with the current run at the New Town Theatre boasting a constantly changing repertoire.
“It’s a bit of an adrenaline rush but I reckoned I had enough songs and stories and poems to make it fresh every time,” adds the former Countdown favourite.
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