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The majority of songs from the 17-track compilation are taken from Roach’s show at the Key Largo in Portland, Oregon, where he performed in 1992. Five of the songs were lifted from his performance at the Darwin Casino in 1993.
The recordings were made from the sound desk by a crew member working at each show – Mark Woods in Portland, and Andy Rayson in Darwin. For both performances, Roach was accompanied by his wife and musical partner, Ruby Hunter.
The tracklist draws from Roach’s first two albums – 1990’s ‘Charcoal Lane’ and 1993’s ‘Jamu Dreaming’. It includes the likes of ‘Took The Children Away’, ‘Down City Streets’, ‘Charcoal Lane’, ‘Sister Brother’, ‘Beautiful Child’, ‘Weeping In The Forest’, ‘From Paradise’, ‘Tell Me Why’, ‘Walking Into Doors’, ‘So Young’ and more. Listen below:
Roach died on Saturday (July 30), aged 66, surrounded by family and friends following a long period of illness. Following his death, tributes for the legendary songman poured in, with Briggs, Birdz, Alice Skye, Barkaa, Amy Shark, Midnight Oil, Jimmy Barnes and more honouring his life and legacy. At the time of his death, ARCA’s live album was already set to be released, and it arrived as scheduled on streaming platforms the following day.
As notes on the non-profit organisation’s website point out, the show at Key Largo was part of a three-month US and Canadian tour that Roach and Hunter undertook, consisting of six weeks of headline shows at small folk clubs, and another six weeks opening for Joan Armatrading.
“The folk clubs were intimate and beautiful, they sat about 100 people,” Mark Woods, who recorded sound for the Key Largo show, told the ARCA. “They loved the songs about the Stolen Generation, they hung on every word, they’d all be crying every night because it was very genuine and very raw.”
ARCA is a non-profit organisation that raises funds for Support Act’s Roadies Fund to private financial, health, counselling and wellbeing services for roadies and crew in crisis. Roach’s recordings comprise the 26th edition of their Desk Tape series.