Newly Found Folk/Americana Performances: Ian & Sylvia — ‘The Lost Tapes’

Ian & Sylvia — The Lost Tapes

Label:  Stony Plain Records

(Release date: September 6, 2019. The Lost Tapes is being released prior to Ian and Sylvia’s inductions into the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. Both have previously been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.)

The first thing you hear is applause.

It is a fitting beginning to a two disc collection of classics and previously unreleased material from Ian & Sylvia (Ian Tyson and Sylvia Tyson), the legendary Canadian rock/folk duo. Anyone who appreciates the music of artists such as the Byrds, Gram Parsons, Linda Ronstadt, Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, or  Peter, Paul & Mary (among so many others) will recognize the inspiration in the songs of Ian & Sylvia.

Ian & Sylvia first came to prominence in the early 60’s folk scene in Greenwich Village performing alongside Bob Dylan (they were also managed by Albert Grossman), Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot (who they made famous by being the first to record “Early Morning Rain”) and were headliners at the now famous 1963 Newport Folk Festival. In early 2019, Sylvia discovered a box of old 1/4 inch analog tapes in her attic that were professionally recorded in the early 1970s in front of a live studio audience. Over 20 previously unreleased recordings, included many of Ian & Sylvia’s classics (including “Four Strong Winds” and “Darcy Farrow”), but also enough to have a full CD of recordings of songs never before included on any Ian & Sylvia album. Their new release, The Lost Tapes, is the result of this discovery. The album features several classics and over 20 never-before-heard versions recordings.

The album captures Ian & Sylvia in their prime and reminds us that ’60s/’70s folk music did not need to be strident and overly political to honestly convey aspects of the human condition. The humanity that comes through Ian & Sylvia’s blended voices was enough.

Give these 26 tracks a listen and you will discover just how far we have strayed… from straightforward tales of universal themes sung and played with crisp coherence. To sit in on Ian & Sylvia performing a song like Buck Owens’ “Together Again” is a rare treat, and to hear these live performances (all reproduced clearly) is to feel as if you’ve traveled to a better time and place.

Appropriately, the last thing you’ll hear on the final track is — you guessed it — more applause.

The Lost Tapes Track Listing:

Disc One – Classics

1.    Keep On The Sunny Side (Ada Blenkhorn / J. Howard Entwisle)

2.    Darcy Farrow (Steve Gillette / Tom Campbell)

3.    Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Ada R. Habershon / Charles H. Gabriel)

4.    When First Unto This Country (Traditional, adapted and arranged by Ian & Sylvia)

5.    Come All You Fair and Tender Ladies (Traditional, adapted and arranged by Ian & Sylvia)

6.    Four Rode By (Ian Tyson)

7.    Nancy Whiskey (Trad.)

8.    Four Strong Winds (Ian Tyson)

9.    Little Beggarman (Traditional, adapted and arranged by Ian & Sylvia)

10. The French Song (Pease / Vincent)

11. Summer Wages (Ian Tyson)

12. Crazy Arms (Ralph Mooney)

13. I’ll Fly Away (Albert E. Brumley)

Disc Two – Previously Unreleased

1.    After The Fire Is Gone (L.E. White)

2.    Heartaches By The Number (Harlan Howard)

3.    Sweet Dreams (Don Gibson)

4.    Come On In My Kitchen (Robert Johnson)

5.    Jimmie’s Texas Blues (Jimmie Rodgers)

6.    How Long (Rick Nelson)

7.    The Last Thing On My Mind (Tom Paxton)

8.    That’s The Way Love Goes (Lefty Frizzell / Sanger D. Shafer)

9.    Crying Time (Buck Owens)

10. Starting All Over Again (Melvin McArthur Hardin / Hubert Timothy McPherson)

11. Together Again (Buck Owens)

12. Silver Threads and Golden Needles (Jack Rhodes/Dick Reynolds)

13. The Goodnight Loving Trail (Utah Phillips)

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