Ian And Sylvia – Lovin’ Sound (1967)May 31, 2009
Artist: Ian And Sylvia
Release: The Lovin’ Sound
Sylvia is from Chatham. Born Sylvia Fricker.
Review by Richie Unterberger
The Ian & Sylvia records bridging their folk phase and country-rock period were always uneven folk-rockish affairs, and this one, which remains one of their least-known 1960s efforts, was not an exception. Peg down your expectations a notch, though, and it isn’t bad, and it’s perhaps their most pop-oriented venture into the folk-rock waters.
Paul Harris (keyboards and orchestral arrangements) and Harvey Brooks (bass), both among the most active session players on mid-’60s New York folk-rock records, were both in the band playing on this release. Largely forsaking the traditional folk material that had dominated their first albums, the set was split between original material and covers of contemporary songwriters Bob Dylan, Tim Hardin, and Johnny Cash (session guitarist David Rea contributed “Pilgrimage to Paradise”). Still, the duo never adapted to rock music as well as most of their ex-folkie peers, and the sound of Lovin’ Sound is rather subdued and tentative.
There are some good moody songs here, though, that grow on you, such as the title track (which would not have sounded unreasonable on AM radio) and “Trilogy.” The covers of Hardin’s “Hang on to a Dream” and “Reason to Believe,” as well as Dylan’s “I Don’t Believe You,” are well done as well. “Sunday,” written as a CBC TV theme, is uncharacteristically happy-go-lucky, with a trumpet-mimicking vocal chorus that leaves one with the impression that they were making fun of California sunshine pop; “Where Did All the Love Go?” and Johnny Cash’s “Big River” expressed their growing country leanings. As a lowlight, “National Hotel” was a cruddy goodtime-vaudevillian exercise that didn’t suit the pair at all.