Ian and Sylvia
Re-Releases and Discography

have been remastered on Polygram
The Toronto Star Saturday, March 25, 2000

Second Spin

If you're in the mood for some aural deja vu, here's a disc worth a replay.

Ian & Sylvia
Moving' On
1967-68 (Mercury/Universal)

After experiencing an unexpected and highly reverent cover of Ian Tyson's classic "Four Strong Winds" by a crib-note-assisted Warren Zevon at the Horseshow recently I went digging for an Ian & Sylvia re-issue I remembered receiving last fall. The excavation yielded a real gem that increased and broadened my appreciation of the Canadian folksinging/songwriting duo, whose 1973 best-of album was previously the alpha and omega of my knowledge.

Movin' On re-issues on one disc two unsung, late ‘60's Ian & Sylvia Albums, Lovin' Sound and Full Circle, both stylistic bridges whose significance is fully explained in Maclean's music critic Nicholas Jennings' excellent liner notes.

Lovin' Sound is an eclectic mix with a sparkling version of Tim Harbin's medieval-flavoured ballad "Hang On To A Dream" and the horn-dabbled version of his classic "Reason To Believe", as well as Ian Tyson's quirky "National Hotel", urgently wistful "Windy Weather" and the autoharp and string-enhanced title tune.

Powered by the 60's pop rhythms bit with a strong country-folk flavour, Full Circle is an intimate recording, featuring Sylvia's achingly beautiful, dreamy anthem "Woman's World" and the toe-tappers like "Shinbone Alley", "Jickson Johnson" and David Rea's "The Minstrel".

by Jennie Punter for The Star

MGM Records Released July 1, 1968
Produced by Elliot Mazar
Arranged by Ian Tyson
Featuring: David Rae, Bill Pursell, Weidon Myrick, Norbert Putnam & Keith Buttrey
Here's to You Hamilton Camp Royham Music/ASCAP
I Learned from Leah I.Tyson/
S.Fricker Tyson
Newtonville Music, Inc./ASCAP
Woman's World Sylvia Fricker Tyson Newtonville Music, Inc./ASCAP
Mr. Spoons Ian Tyson Witmark\ASCAP
Shinbone Alley Sylvia Fricker Tyson Newtonville Music, Inc./ASCAP
Please Think Keith McKie Mescal Music/ASCAP
Stories He'd Tell Ian Tyson Newtonville Music, Inc./ASCAP
Jickson Johnson Adapted and Arranged by Tyson-Fricker Newtonville Music, Inc./ASCAP
Tears of Rage Bob Dylan Dwarf Music/ASCAP
The Minstrel David Rea Remember Music/ASCAP
Recording Engineer: Charles Tallent
Remixing Engineer: Ron Johnson
Director of Engineering: Val Valentin
String Choir Arrangement by Charlie Fox

(MGM Records SE/4388 Released April 1, 1967
Produced by John Court (A Groscourt Production)
Windy Weather Ian Tyson M. Witmark & Sons/ASCAP
Hang on to a Dream Tim Hardin Faithful Virtue Music Co., Inc./BMI
I Don't Believe You Bob Dylan M. Witmark & Sons/ASCAP
Where Did All the Love Go Sylvia Tyson M. Witmark & Sons/ASCAP
Mr. Spoons Ian Tyson M. Witmark & Sons/ASCAP
National Hotel Ian Tyson M. Witmark & Sons/ASCAP
Sunday I.Tyson/
S.Fricker Tyson
M. Witmark & Sons/ASCAP
Pilgrimage to Paradise David Rae Pennywhistle Music, Inc./BMI
Reason to Believe T. Hardin Faithful Virtue Music Co., Inc./BMI
Big River J. Cash Hi-Lo Music/BMI
Trilogy Sylvia Tyson M. Witmark & Sons/ASCAP
Lovin' Sound Ian Tyson M. Witmark & Sons/ASCAP
Director of Engineering: Val Valentin
Recording Engineer: Harry Yarmark
Personnel: Ian Tyson- Guitar; Sylvia Tyson - Autoharp and Piano (National Hotel)
Accompanying Musicians: David Rea - Lead Guitar; Paul Harris Keyboards; Harvey Brooks - Bass; Bill Lavorna - Drums
Reason to Believe only: Don Payne - Bass; Donald MacDonald - Drums
Reason to Believe and Lovin' Sound - Orchestral Arrangements by Paul Harris

Ian & Sylvia Discography
Ian & Sylvia Vanguard VSD-2113 September 1962
Four Strong Winds Vanguard VSD-2149 April 1964
Northern Journey Vanguard VSD-75914 September 1964
Early Morning Rain Vanguard VSD-79175 July 1965
Play One More Vanguard VSD-79215 May 1966
So Much for Dreaming Vanguard VSD-79241 April 1967
Lovin' Sound MGM SE-4388 June 1967
Nashville Vanguard VSD-79284 August 1967
Full Circle MGM SE-4550 September 1968
Great Speckled Bird Ampex A10103 October 1969
Ian and Sylvia Columbia KC30736 October 1971
You Were On My Mind Columbia KC31337 August 1972
Two strong winds of yore
Ian & Sylvia harmonize again for tribute show
and The Band's Last Waltz replayed after 30 years

Few names stir more profound musical memories for Canadians than Ian & Sylvia and The Band. So it's no surprise two live shows happening this week, in honour of each, sold out within hours of being announced.

We Shall Be Released, encoring at the Glenn Gould Studio tonight, will have a host of musicians celebrating The Band's 1976 farewell concert in San Francisco, as immortalized in the Martin Scorsese film The Last Waltz.

Then, tomorrow night at Hugh's Room, both Tysons will be onstage at the concert honouring the induction of Ian & Sylvia into the Mariposa folk festival's Hall of Fame.

Another Mariposa inductee this year is Don Cullen, Toronto impresario and founder of the 1960s renegade artists' hangout The Bohemian Embassy.

Performers paying tribute at Hugh's Room include Nancy White, The Good Brothers, Marie-Lynn Hammond, Aengus Finnan and David Celia.

"I suggested they might consider a larger venue," Sylvia Tyson said earlier this week, after organizers had managed to book the ex-partners to perform both as individuals and as a duo in a "three or four song revival" of their earliest material at the 300-seat Dundas St. W. concert club/restaurant.

Apart for a CBC-TV special shot at Canada's Wonderland in the mid-1980s, the two have rarely performed together since their marriage ended in 1975 and Ian headed out to Alberta to run a horse and cattle ranch.

"When I was first approached, I said, `No problem, provided Ian's okay with it,'" said Sylvia, who played the very first Mariposa festival with Ian in 1961.

"Much to my surprise, he agreed, even though it's such a long distance to come for no money."

As it turns out, Ian will perform solo concerts at Hugh's Room on Monday and Tuesday.

Their appearance could easily have filled Massey Hall, Sylvia agreed, but she said that might have fuelled speculation about a professional reunion, and that just isn't in the cards.

"The past is prologue," she quipped. "We're both too involved in our own solo careers to even think of going back there. I doubt we'll ever be doing this again."

On her part, Sylvia is gearing up for another six-city Christmas tour — including shows Dec. 20 and 21 at Hugh's Room, and a benefit concert Dec. 1 for the Children's Wish Foundation at the Jane Mallett Theatre — with Cindy Church, Gwen Swick and Caitlin Hanford of the roots ensemble Quartette.

They're putting finishing touches on the group's seventh CD, produced by Colin Linden, for release early next year.

In the meantime, she's been working on retuning the autoharp that used to be an Ian & Sylvia performance staple.

"It's the older material that comes together easily for us, the stuff neither of us has played or updated since the early days," Sylvia said. "I haven't touched the autoharp in 20 years."

Ian Tyson and Sylvia Fricker first performed together in the late 1950s, and they had two particularly influential songs to their credit, Ian's "Four Strong Winds" and Sylvia's "You Were on My Mind," when they wrapped up in 1975.

That was too early for them to impact on CBC Radio 3 concert recording specialist Ron Skinner — producer of the We Shall Be Released concerts last night and tonight at the Glenn Gould.

Skinner says his appreciation for Canadian roots music was triggered by The Band's heralded 1976 exit.

"The Last Waltz had a huge impact on my life," he said of the Scorsese documentary that featured The Band at the centre of the rock/folk cosmos, surrounded by Bob Dylan and others at their last hurrah at San Francisco's Fillmore. Skinner saw the movie at age 9 with his father, when it was released in 1978.

"He had the feeling that it was a really important movie and we should see it together."

After the movie was re-released with a refreshed edit and soundtrack on its 25th anniversary, Skinner became convinced Canada's public network should observe this cultural touchstone by staging a 30th-anniversary concert recreation.

"The Band paved the way for so many Canadian musicians in the years that followed, and their legacy is immeasurable. I wanted to acknowledge them in some way."

The notion of a literal recreation was ditched once Blackie & the Rodeo Kings — singers, songwriters and guitarists Colin Linden, Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson, and musical sidekicks Richard Bell on keyboards, drummer Gary Craig and bassist John Dymond — were brought on board as house band. Linden was appointed musical director, in charge of aligning the talents of Kathleen Edwards, Jason Collett, Oh Susanna, Tony Dekker, Dione Taylor, Luke Doucet and Paul Reddick.

"The spirit of The Band and their circle of musical friends has a lot more to do with spontaneity, improvisation and self-expression," said Linden, who, like Bell, was a member of The Band's inner sanctum in Woodstock post-1976.

"And that's the spirit we want to celebrate. We're not restaging The Last Waltz as much as drawing on The Band's body of work, and the work of other musicians they influenced.

"It's a daunting and exciting challenge — something I'm really looking forward to."

The Band's demise signalled the end of what had been a long and venerated Canadian institution, the union-regulated "six-nighter" contract that made it possible for bands to hone their chops in one venue Monday through Saturday while earning "just enough to survive without a day job and make it to the next town for the next six-nighter," Linden said.

It was a rigorous routine that could make or break a band, and which Linden credits with producing some of the most compelling music in the world, especially The Band's.

"Since the mid-1980s, young musicians just haven't had the opportunity to play together regularly in front of an audience every night. I want this concert to celebrate a level of intense camaraderie and ensemble playing that we rarely get to see any more."