My summer tour of Canada and America in 1985 was one of the highlights of what has been an interesting and exciting life. I'm grateful for the chance to have part of it encapsulated on disc both as a personal reminder and as a tribute to all of the festival and concert organisers, the audiences, the sound crews and especially to Jim Fleming, and Al and "Mama" Rogers, but most of all to my new 'buddy' Garnet.
There are many people responsible for making the tour and this album possible.
For my part, I would like to thank:
Jim Fleming, who flinched only a little when I told him I'd like to take six weeks out of by busiest time of the year to tour with a near stranger whom I'd met but once in 1977, and could he arrange everything? Tom Slothower and Dave Tamulevich who helped book the tour; Mary Townsend, who helped bring order out of chaos; Andy Braunfeld, who arranged visas; Danna and Bennie Garcia, of Canadian River Music for help and support; Gene and Barbara Williams who lent their car to us when my Volvo exploded on the first day of the tour; Doug McArthur, for much good advice, which was largely ignored; Greg Roberts, who did his usual superb job of engineering under frantic and chaotic conditions of recording every night in a different city, and who kept calm when all hell (and I) threatened to break loose; my parents, who have so successfully built a new record company, and who continue to lend their good names and help, not only to my efforts, but to the efforts of musicians across North America. This record wouldn't have been possible without their help. And by no means least of all, thanks to my wife Gail, for her endless support and patience; particularly since while I was thrashing around America with Archie, Gail had to (by herself) pull up stakes, and move all our possessions (including 400 frantically struggling cats) to our new home. Thanks to the audiences, everywhere, particularly the Buffalo Friends of Folk Music whose angelic voices you hear on the last cut. And finally, thanks to Archie. I confess I was increasingly apprehensive as the tour drew nearer. I had met him only briefly, years ago, and aside from an abiding love of his music I knew nothing of him. Touring Scotsmen have a fearsome reputation in North America, and the arrival of a Scots musician on our shores is greeted with much the same emotions as must have been felt by ragged Irish monks seeing the Viking sails clustered on the horizon. Exciting, but … In short, I wondered what sort of animal I was connecting up with. I needn't have worried. Anyone who has spent time with Archie can speak of his warmth, wit, kindness and gentlemanliness … Not to mention his unflagging skill in navigation. We'd be somewhere in the darkest Appalachia, on a narrow kudzu-vine enshrouded backroad: me behind the wheel, Archie in the passenger seat (he did have an un-nerving tendency to drive on the left). Archie would be smoking a cigarette and quietly poring over the Trucker's Atlas that was open on his knee. Time and again, as I hunched over the wheel, listening to the static on the C.B., I would ask "Where are we NOW?" And invariably, he would lean back, stub out his cigarette, blow smoke at the windshield and sigh, "We're off the map".
This is a record of those wonderful frantic weeks.