Posts Tagged ‘ian’

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Ian And Sylvia – Full Circle (1969)

May 31, 2009

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Artist: Ian And Sylvia
Release: Full Circle
Date: 1969
Sylvia is from Chatham. Born Sylvia Fricker.

   Ian and Sylvia originally traveled to Nashville in 1968 with the intention of recording with some of the best session musicians that could be found in one place. Whether acoustic or electrified, Music City has always been notable for the quantity of talented musicians that make Greater Nashville their home. Not surprisingly considering their own rural roots, Ian and Sylvia quickly became caught up in the new sounds coming out of north-central Tennessee. The “Nashville Sound” itself—characterized by a heavy use of “strings” as backup—permeated commercial country music during the 1960s, one of its chief promoters being RCA-producer Chet Atkins. While finishing up their recording commitment to Vanguard with 1968’s country-jazz fusion entitled Nashville, Ian and Sylvia incorporated some of these country influences into a new stage show, put together a country band dubbed the Great Speckled Bird, and began touring in 1969. The two albums they would later record for Capitol—Full Circle and Ian and Sylvia—each showcased the duo’s avant garde country western repertoire.

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Ian And Sylvia – Nashville (1968)

May 31, 2009

ianandsylvia_nashville_1968

Artist: Ian And Sylvia
Release: Nashville
Date: 1968
Genre: Folk
Sylvia is from Chatham. Born Sylvia Fricker.

Tracks:
1. Mighty Quinn
2. Wheels On Fire
3. Farewell To The North
4. Taking Care Of Business
5. Southern Comfort
6. Ballad Of The Ugly Man
7. Ninety Degrees X Ninety Degrees
8. She’Ll Be Gone
9. London Life
10. Renegade
11. House Of Cards
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Watch the album preview below.

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Recorded in Nashville in 1968, and released the same year on Vanguard, this album from the Canadian folk duo Ian & Sylvia Tyson includes a cover of the Danko/Dylan classic “This Wheel’s on Fire”. Their version is also available on CD, e.g. on the 2002 compilation IAn & Sylvia: The Complete Vanguard Recordings (Vanguard 4VCD 196).

Sylvia Fricker was born on September 19, 1940, in Chatham, Ontario.  Her mother was a music teacher and the organist and choir leader in their church; her father was employed in the appliance section of a large department shore.  after graduating from high school, she worked for a jeweler in her hometown but, unhappy with the direction her life was taking, began venturing up to Toronto on weekends.  She had always enjoyed music, particularly the folk idiom, so she decided to pursue a career as a professional singer.  After a year of traveling back and forth to Toronto, she quit her job and moved.  She first met Ian while both were performing at a local spot called the Village Corner Club.  They formed their music partnership early in 1959 and, in 1964, their personal lives were joined by marriage.

Despite their production of five more albums in the next few years, Ian & Sylvia were uncertain in which direction to take their music.  After deciding to utilize Nashville’s top-notch musicians by recording in Music City, they realized their commitment to country music — which came as no great surprise, for their musical roots were in country.  Although some “people really got uptight,” explains Tyson, “when we made the transition to country music,” they have never regretted their choice.  Out of the Nashville venture came another album for Vanguard, a subsequent LP on the MGM label, and the formation of a country band called the Great Speckled Bird.
(musicamericana.com)

Listen or buy it here or here.

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Ian And Sylvia – So Much For Dreaming (1966)

May 31, 2009

ianandsylvia_somuch_1966

Artist: Ian And Sylvia
Release: So Much For Dreaming
Date: 1966
Sylvia is from Chatham. Born Sylvia Fricker.

Line Up:
Ian Tyson
(vocals, guitar, autoharp)
Sylvia (vocals)
David Rae (guitar)
Robert Bushnell (electric bass)
Al Rogers (drums).

Songs: 
01 – circle game
02 – so much for dreaming
03 – wild geese
04 – child apart
05 – summer wages
06 – hold tight
07 – cutty wren
08 – si les bateaux
09 – catfish blues
10 – come all ye fair and tender ladies
11 – january morning
12 – grey morning

Ian Sylvia’s adjustment to folk-rock was sometimes fine, sometimes awkward, and this was another inconsistent, though generally worthwhile, effort. Highlights include “Circle Game,” one of the very first recorded covers of a Joni Mitchell composition. Tyson’s “Wild Geese” and “Child Apart” count as some of their better unheralded tunes, and the occasional muted orchestration worked well on “Circle Game” and the melancholy title track. On the other hand, the attempts at blues were abominable, the traditional ballads anachronistic, and some of the material (especially Fricker’s) undistinguished. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide.

In the mid-1960s Ian and Sylvia began to move away from traditional folk toward an early synthesis of country music and rock. In place of guitar accompaniment (which had been supplied in turn by Monte Dunn, David Rea, and others) they formed a full band, the Great Speckled Bird, in 1968; the debut LP Great Speckled Bird is considered a classic of the country-rock genre. The change in style initially met with mixed if not hostile reaction but brought Ian and Sylvia before a broader audience – in 1970, for example, they appeared at the Atlanta Pop Festival and as part of the Festival Express, a rock festival that crossed Canada by train, stopping in several cities. They also performed at Expo 70 in Japan. (The Canadian Encyclopedia).
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* Watch the album preview below.

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Listen or buy it here or here.

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Ian And Sylvia – Play One More (1966)

May 31, 2009

ianandsylvia_playone_1966

Artist: Ian And Sylvia
Release: Play One More
Date: 1966
Label: Vanguard Records
Genre: Folk/Country
Sylvia is from Chatham. Born Sylvia Fricker.

“…one of Ian & Sylvia’s best… some great original songs [and] some strong cover versions of equally powerful folk and country tunes…”

Ian Tyson (vocals, guitar); Sylvia Fricker (vocals).
Additional personnel:
Eric Weissberg (guitar, banjo); Rick Turner (guitar); Paul Griffin (organ); Felix Pappalardi (bass).

Songs:
1. Short Grass
2. French Girl
3. When I Was A Cowboy
4. Changes
5. Gifts Are For Giving
6. Molly And Tenbrooks
7. Hey, What About Me
8. Lonely Girls
9. Satisfied
10. Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa
11. Friends Of Mine
12. Play One More
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* Watch the album preview below.

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Listen or buy it here or here.

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Ian And Sylvia – Early Mornin’ Rain (1965)

May 31, 2009

Artist: Ian And Sylvia
Release: Early Mornin’ Rain
Date: 1965
Label: Vanguard Records
Sylvia is from Chatham. Born Sylvia Fricker.

    Their fourth album, Early Morning Rain, consisted in large part of contemporary compositions. They introduced the work of fellow Canadian songwriter and performer Gordon Lightfoot through the title song as well a cover version of “For Loving Me”. They also covered “Darcy Farrow” by Steve Gillette and Tom Campbell, being the first artists to cover these three songs. Additionally, they recorded a number of their own compositions.

Tracks:
1. Come In Stranger
2. Early Morning Rain 
3. Nancy Whiskey
4. Awake Ye Drousy Sleepers
5. Marlborough Street Blues
6. Darcy Farrow
7. Travelling Drummer  
8. Maude’s Bluese 
9. Red Velvet
10. I’Ll Bid My Heart Be Stil  
11. For Lovin’ Mee 
12. Song For Canada

Listen or buy it here or here.

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Ian And Sylvia – Four Strong Winds (1964)

May 31, 2009

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Artist: Ian And Sylvia
Release: Four Strong Winds
Date: 1964
Genre: Folk
Sylvia is from Chatham. Born Sylvia Fricker.

Songs:
1.
Jesus Met the Woman at the Well
2. Tomorrow Is a Long Time
3. Katy Dear
4. Poor Lazarus
5. Four Strong Winds
6. Ella Speed
7. Long Lonesome Road
8. V’la L’Bon Vent
9. Royal Canal
10. Lady of Carlisle
11. Spanish Is a Loving Tongue
12. Greenwood Sidie, The (The Cruel Mother)
13. Every Night When the Sun Goes Down
14. Every Time I Feel the Spirit

  • Watch/listen to the album preview below.

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Listen or Buy it here or here.

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Ian And Sylvia Debut Release (1962)

May 31, 2009

Ian & Sylvia1962

Artist: Ian And Sylvia
Release: Ian And Sylvia
Date: 1962
Sylvia is from Chatham. Born Sylvia Fricker.

Tracks:
01. rocks and gravel
02. old blue
03. c.c. rider
04. un canadien errant
05. handsome molly
06. mary anne
07. pride of petrovar
08. makes a long time man feel bad
09. rambler gambler
10. down by the willow garden
11. got no more home than a dog
12. when first unto this country
13. live a-humble
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Ian Sylvia’s debut album is their most standard affair, and indeed a fairly typical contemporary folk recording, with such traditional warhorses as “Rocks and Gravel” (also recorded, but not released, by Dylan during the same time), “C.C. Rider,” and “Handsome Molly.” What made the pair immediately distinctive was their superb vocal dueting, which was definitely a case of the sum being greater than its parts. Blended together, they canceled each other’s weaknesses and gave the material great freshness and vigor. Ian’s guitar and Sylvia’s autoharp are backed by stellar playing from guitarist John Herald and string bassists Bill Lee (director Spike Lee’s father) and Art Davis. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

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   Ian & Sylvia were Canada’s first folk act to command a large international following from their humble beginnings in the 1950’s. After a hospital stay from his career in professional rodeos, Ian had time to learn guitar. He became a regular performer at the Heidelberg Cafe in Vancouver, British Columbia starting in 1956. He would later move on as guitarist for Jerry Fyander And The Seasonal Stripes before relocating to Toronto in 1959 and hooking up with actor/singer Don Francks, and later, future wife Sylvia Fricker.

Sylvia had grown up in Chatham, Ontario and eventually headed to Toronto to pursue her life ambition as a folk singer. By late 1959 Ian & Sylvia had teamed up as musical collaborators/performers and played at the Mariposa Folk Festival for the first time in 1961.

From there they would go on to folk clubs in New York where they met Albert Grossman (Bob Dylan’s manager) who would send them through the Catskills Circuit, Chicago and Detroit. He eventually became their manager and landed them a with US based Vanguard Records. Their debut album from 1962, ‘Ian & Sylvia’, did nothing if not make them a fixture of the early 60’s folk boom.

The duo continued their remarkable rise in popularity and were inspired by the success of Dylan. Ian managed to write what would become one of the most famous of all folk songs, “Four Strong Winds”, after hearing Dylan do “Blowin’ In The Wind” in 1964. The duo were married the same year and continued working the college circuit.

Though not hits for the duo, both “Four Strong Winds” and Sylvia’s first composition ever, “You Were On My Mind”, were successes for Bobby Bare (1964) and the We Five (1965)/Crispen St. Peter (1966) respectively. The duo returned to Canada in 1964 and they had a son, Clay. Later, Sylvia would develop some throat problems leaving Ian to perform solo to make ends meet.

‘Play One More’, from early 1966, seemed like a cookie cutter collection of songs to fill the need for the public to consume more folk. That same year they released a second, ‘So Much For Dreaming’, which was a turn towards the pop mainstream with a few folk tunes thrown in.

Moving to MGM Records in 1967 they put out ‘The Lovin’ Sound’ before being informed by Vanguard that they owed that label one more album. Contractually obligated, Ian & Sylvia delivered 1969’s ‘Full Circle’ to Vanguard before resuming their new relationship with MGM for the ‘Nashville’ album.

By then their folk approach had almost completely been buried and a distinct country style had taken its place. As a means to explore this and other musical genres, the duo formed a free-form country-jazz instrumental experiment called The Great Speckled Bird which featured some of the hottest session players in the business – David Wilcox (guitar); Ben Keith (steel guitar), Jeff Gutcheon (piano), Jim Colegrove (bass) and N.D. Smart (drums).

The public reaction was scornful but high profile live events like the Atlanta Pop Festival and Festival Express 1970 received better response and so they were inspired to release an album. ‘The Great Speckled Bird’ was produced by Todd Rundgren and released on Ampex. Immediately, the public showed their dislike with their pocket books and the band had to come off tour due to lack of album sales and eventually the album’s unavailability due to Ampex folding.

Ian would soon be asked to host CTV-TV’s ‘Nashville North’ television show which would frequently feature appearances by Sylvia over the course of five years. Sylvia took on the position of hosting CBC Radio’s ‘Touch The Earth’ and in 1973 was signed to a solo record deal with Capitol.

Ian would be signed to A & M and eventually Stony Plain and pursued the on-again off-again Great Speckled Bird project. The duo played their final public performance in 1975 and The Great Speckled Bird disbanded a year later.

The duo eventually were divorced and have maintained a friendship ever since. They reunited for a CBC-TV special and live performance at Kingswood Music Theatre in 1986.

with notes from James M. Castro.

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