Original Song

Peter Archer – The Mystery Man

What happened to Peter?

Peter was a bit of a mystery man. I thought I knew  him really well, hell, I lived with the man for a number of years back in the mid 80’s in a little farm house on SE Marine Drive in Burnaby, down by where all the vegetable growers were and the train whistles could be heard off in the distance as they ran the rail along the Fraser river. So, you’d assume I had a handle on him but you would be wrong.

Pete was a stubborn, private man, born in England and came out of the rough punk music that was predominate in England at the time. Pete had talent … lots of it really. He could sound rough and then in a second, he could soar sweetly. That described him pretty accurately, a man of opposites.

He went through a divorce in the early 80’s and he never really let go of his bitterness over that. He drove a Vancouver city bus for years … and hated it. But he stuck with it long enough to get himself a good enough pension to but a nice little cabin on a beautiful piece of land on, I think, Salt Spring Island. He basically hide away and I rarely heard from him..especially as I had already moved to Toronto .. so far away. Every once in a while I would get a package in the mail with a strange concoction of music he had recorded. It was always interesting. And, he never put a return address on so I could never get in touch with him. Until one evening when my phone rang and there was Peter on the other end … sounding a bit tired … and weak. He said he had emphysema and he did not think he was going to make it. Oh, and he wanted to give me his property. This…out of the blue. Well of course I said “Come on Pete, you’re going to pull through these … don’t give up. It will be OK“.

I never heard from him again … and apparently, neither did anyone else. No one. We have not been able to find out what happened … and where. We tried, but nothing. He just disappeared. Maybe he died in hospital …maybe he just walked into the ocean he loved so much. Maybe he is still alive and just wants to be left alone. I really do not know.

I think of him often. And I think about how much talent he had. So, I decided to do a bit of work on a bunch of songs Pete and I recorded, along with a number of really fine players that were friends of mine and Pete’s and who frequented our little studio on 5th street underneath Prugger’s Music Store in Lethbridge. I think these sessions were somewhere around 1978/79. Things are a bit foggy after all this time.

The players I remember on these sessions were, and I know I will miss some so please let me know if you remember: Brad Valgardson, drums, Robbie Berday, drums, Russ Hauser, Dan Dube and Earl McAuley on various keyboards, maybe Jim Williams on bass but I know there was at least one other bass player that I cannot remember (Laurie?), myself and maybe Steve Cross on guitars (Jeremy, did you play on these at all?), Vern Dorge on tenor sax and flute and Pete on acoustic guitar … that glorious Marten D28 of his.

These recordings are old, probably were not stored as optimally as they could have been…but the essence of Pete and the fine playing of the players involved is all there. I hope you enjoy. 

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