I was tired, really tired. I'd had an unusually hard time negotiating a deal I was really keen on. I got it. My partner at the time, suggested we go see all the bands we handled who were playing in Edinburgh that night. There were four. After the third, I was so whacked I couldn't do justice to anybody's music. I wanted to go home. Just one more, he said. I thought he meant the fourth band on our books. No, he said, I want you to see a folk group. A folk group — you must be kidding. I'm a Rock n Roll manager, I don't even know anything about folk music. They're in the Traverse Theatre, he said. You'll get a seat. OK, OK, I'll go. Now I've been to a million gigs, maybe two million. Anyway, I walked in to a hushed house. The band, sorry group, were on. There were six of them, but only two were playing, or rather one was playing and the other singing. They stood in a line. There were no drums or guitars (real electric ones that is). We took our places, standing, between the two sections of tiered seating. We were looking straight at them.
At first I thought it was the tiredness, but as the songs and tunes came pouring from the instruments and voices, I knew it wasn't. I was learning something. These guys were good, very good. They weren't dressed in tartan. They had long hair. They had broad Scottish accents. The songs were hundreds of years old. The playing was passionate, and the singing had the character of a dozen generations influence. Wait a minute, this night was getting crazier all the time. I felt something in my heart which I had never felt before. I stayed till the end of the second encore, which I had applauded for as loudly as anyone, and wanted to speak to the group afterwards. Drat and doubledrat, they were also tired and just wanted a drink, the affections of young women and to sleep, in that order. However, I did offer to run the fiddle player and his brother home and although both accepted, I ended up with just one. This was sign of things to come. I talked to that fiddle player for hours. He seemed to know things about playing music for fun, and a living, that I vaguely remembered used to be in Rock n Roll. Indeed, Rock n Roll now seemed sick by comparison. I wanted in.
I made lots of phone calls the next day, trying to round up the whole group so that we could talk business. Ha, I was a novice in the folk scene. This was not the way things were done. The way we eventually sealed a 'verbal deal' was by us driving to Elgin (from Edinburgh) one night, assisting in the setting up of the equipment, suggesting the best way of selling LP's at the gig and on finding out that no-one had arranged their hotel for the night, jumping into the car and pulling off the amazing feat of finding B n B for 8 men at eleven o'clock at night in Elgin. They knew and we knew, that the best way to handle things from then on, was for them to do the writing, arranging and playing, and for us to do the business. There followed a year and a half of craziness. British, French, Dutch, German, Swiss and even Spanish tours followed. I don't care about the international banking deals or the licenses which had to be specially granted by Glasgow Sheriffs in order to allow the youngest member to play abroad. In the end when these guys took the stage it was all worth it.
They are magic 'Live in Concert'. This LP was recorded one New Year in Edinburgh. It contains all the inter-song 'crack', a selection of their best works, but most of all the fire and passion they put into their live performances. I hope you enjoy it.