For many older folkies the distinctive voices of Ian & Sylvia Tyson define the essence of the 1960's folk music sound. These Juno Award Hall of Famers became popular in the United States at the start of the 60's folk revival, paving the way for other Canadian performers at a time when there were limited recording opportunities for musicians in Canada.
One of the top acts of the folk scene, Ian & Sylvia helped boost the careers of Gordon Lightfoot and Joni Mitchell with their recordings of "Early Morning Rain," "For Lovin' Me," and "The Circle Game," and they introduced outstanding songs of their own, including Sylvia's "You Were On My Mind" and Ian's "Someday Soon" and "Four Strong Winds." Photographs of Sylvia playing autoharp while Ian plays guitar are among the most romantic evocations of the coffeehouse era.
"Their early Vanguard albums were an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary folksongs, sung with a purity and clarity that was unusual, even in the stripped-down days of folk music"--Mary Katherine Aldin, liner notes to Long Long Time. Those albums include Four Strong Winds, Northern Journey, and Early Morning Rain.
Play One More, marks a change in direction to new material and electric and orchestral arrangements. Nashville, a countryish album, sounds surprisingly modern. Along the way they formed a backup band called Great Speckled Bird, featuring Amos Garrett and Buddy Cage. Great Speckled Bird, released in 1970, became a collector's item when the company that originally released it pulled out of the record business. Rare vinyl copies of the album have exchanged hands for as much as $150. With no master tapes to work from, Stony Plain rescued this album from oblivion by remastering and re-engineering from high-quality vinyl. Because of the eclectic nature of Ian & Sylvia's material, their Greatest Hits collection makes an outstanding purchase. It shaves off some of their less successful efforts and includes many of their best songs. The collection covers the entire range of their early Vanguard period. Similarly, Long Long Time captures some great tracks from out-of-print albums from their post-Vanguard period, including Lovin' Sound (MGM 1967), Full Circle (MGM 1968), Great Speckled Bird (Ampex 1969), Ian & Sylvia...With David Wilcox (Columbia 1971).
Gene Wilburn, 1995.
ADDITION, Date: Sun, 04 Aug 1996 21:04:06 -0500
From: Richard Batey email@example.com:
There is another Dylan song that Ian & Sylvia did:
"I Don't Believe You" on Ian and Sylvia, MGM, GAS115.
Ian & Sylvia Live At Newport has just been released on the Vanguard label.