Between the Breaks … Live!
If I had known just how hard a live album was going to be, I think I would have run to Springfield Sound and done it the easy way. It's very easy, in the studio, to second guess yourself, and Springfield is such a relaxing place to work. Yet, now that I hear the result of what proved to be an immense effort on the part of everyone involved, I'm quite happy.
Last year, at one of the festivals, our friend Emily Friedman suggested that she would really like to hear us do a live album someday, since she felt that we sounded best in front of an audience and our other albums were over-produced anyway. (Easy, there, Paul!) We, of course, scoffed at the very idea, since we were and are very proud of our studio efforts to date, and were looking forward to doing it again. But, the more we thought about it, the better it sounded, until Garnet finally asked the fatal question; "So, why not?"
The rest was a simple matter of finding the right gig to record, finding a mobile sixteen-track recording facility that didn't cost the moon, frantically rehearsing Grit and Curly Boy in not only the tunes intended for the album but enough to do the rest of the show as well, arranging for a cover photograph, trucking sound equipment all over the place, helping publicize the week at the Groaning Board (a live album requires a live audience, preferably a large live audience), sending out nearly a hundred invitations, making endless phone calls, driving close to two hundred miles a day for two weeks, and most importantly, trying to do a good show every night for the folks who, to our immense relief, turned out in large numbers to see the whole thing go down. Paul Mills, as usual, worked his head off, and somehow-managed to keep his job at the CBC running smoothly (Touch the Earth went on the air — somehow) with the help of Bill Garrett, who also found the time to be in the recording truck every night.
The end result of all this you hold in your hands, and we're quite pleased with it. Valerie's fingernails are healing nicely, thank you, and she no longer trembles and sweats when the word "album" is mentioned.
Garnet and David would like to add a few words, and then we'll get to the songs.
I haven't much to add, except to say if I'd known how hard this was going to be, I'd have kept my big mouth shut. It was worth it in the end, though, and in that regard, thanks are due to all of the above-mentioned, most particularly those great audiences who were so warm and supportive, as were so many of the audiences we've played for in the last few years. To all of you who've come to see us, sung with us, fed us, put us up, put up with us, — thank you.
I enjoyed the hell out of myself playing on this album, as I do most of the time that I work out with Stan and Garnet, as our audiences will attest (I'm the short one with the Neanderthal club of a bass). The other two guys, (Paul and Grit) were icing. The measure of their contribution to the band is not only evident on this album, but in their legacy to our music. ... for weeks subsequent to the taping, I kept hearing their parts whenever we played. I'm sure it was the same for Stan and Garnet.
We probably won't be doing another live album for quite a while; it is too nerve-wracking, but as I listen to the finished product I think that this will always be my favourite no matter how many more we do. It is sometimes hard to remember that I'm only in it for the stickers.