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Complete Vanguard Studio Recordings
Ian & Sylvia
Complete Vanguard Studio Recordings
Genres: Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (26) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (25) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (24) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #4

Of all the young lovers smitten by folk music in the '60s, Ian Tyson and Sylvia Fricker cut the most striking couple, and--as a couple--many of the most striking sides. Over seven Vanguard albums, recorded between 1963 a...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Ian & Sylvia
Title: Complete Vanguard Studio Recordings
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Vanguard Records
Release Date: 9/11/2001
Album Type: Box set
Genres: Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
Styles: Traditional Folk, North America, Folk Rock
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaCD Credits: 4
UPCs: 015707019620, 0090204971237, 090204971237

Of all the young lovers smitten by folk music in the '60s, Ian Tyson and Sylvia Fricker cut the most striking couple, and--as a couple--many of the most striking sides. Over seven Vanguard albums, recorded between 1963 and 1968, Ian & Sylvia lent their vibrato-heavy voices to traditional folk and country songs with strenuous and studied results. However, on indisputably classic Tyson tunes such as "Summer Wages" and "Four Strong Winds," and well-chosen (and, at the time, obscure) ballads by peers such as Bob Dylan ("Tomorrow Is a Long Time") and Steve Gillette ("Darcy Farrow"), their ethereal harmonies and uncluttered acoustic arrangements go a long way towards explaining the duo's popularity and influence. Hard-core fans may frown over the sole previously unreleased track (a toss off called "Je T'aime Marielle"), but they will also cherish Vanguard's sparkling remastering and packaging (a delightfully written appraisal by Colin Escott is included) of this much-needed collection. No better overview of Ian & Sylvia's art can be located. Although you won't find their best album (1970's country-rock gem Great Speckled Bird) here, you will find a cache brimming with the strengths and weaknesses of the folk revival. --Roy Kasten

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CD Reviews

Diamond That Still Sparkles
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 01/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This box set is a special treat for fans of folk music & those who have well-worn vinyl recordings. The book in itself makes fascinating reading. Hearing the stories of Bob Dylan before he started writing as a singer who'd hit on women just to have a place to sleep rather than for romance gives a feel for the scene that spawned this great era. Then hearing what surprise Sylvia had when Dylan's songs were so good brings the legend some humanity. The bickering between the ex's is also pretty good with Sylvia talking about Ian's claim that he did songs just to please her, "That's a crock!" The main attraction is the music, a diamond that still sparkles these nearly 40 years later. Some of my favorites are "C.C. Rider" where Bill Lee's bass runs gleefully amok over the arrangement. "Un Canadien Errant" has such a sad, lovely melody. Of course, "You Were On My Mind" and "Some Day Soon" are classic tunes. "When I Was A Cowboy" is one great folk boogie, bursting with energy. "Lonely Girls" is a strong song, nice to revisit. I loved the Bacharach/David "24 Hours from Tulsa" even though I often recall Gene Pitney as I hear it. (The book lists the author as "David" Bacharach!?!) Ian & Sylvia's recording of fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell's "Circle Game" helped launch that legendary career. Sylvia's "Hold Tight" has a melody that pops like a jack-in-the-box while Ian sounds Dylanesque on vocals. "Cutty Wren" has been one of my favorite folk tunes since college, and one of the most violent since "3 Blind Mice." "How will you cut her up? said Millner to Mollner..." I love Ian & Sylvia's rendition of Dylan's "This Wheel's On Fire"; it has energy and strength that propel the melody. Sylvia's dramatic "Southern Comfort" is wonderful, "Didn't I lie, lie, lie, didn't I?" The amazing thing about this music is that it is aging so well; it still sounds vital and relevant these decades later. Vanguard's done a wonderful job with this box set. Enjoy!"
Five Stars, But Flawed Nevertheless
Richard Flynn | Statesboro, GA USA | 09/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is indeed a pleasure to have all of Ian & Sylvia's Vanguard albums in one neat box set as well as the handsome booklet with notes by Colin Escott (though many of them are derived from his 1994 Ian Tyson Auto/Biography "I Never Sold My Saddle"). While, for the most part, this set is a welcome alternative to my well-worn vinyl versions, at times the digital transfers reveal limitations not apparent in the analog versions. The album Play One More, for instance, sounds thin (on disc 3) in a back-to-back comparison with the vinyl. And the "previously unreleased" track "Je T'aime Marielle" turns out to be a version of disc 3's "Si Les Bateaux" without the strings. On the other hand, the 20-bit transfer of Nashville (a much-underrated album and the duo's last for Vanguard)is far superior to the CD version issued previously by the label.

Of course, I'm a big Ian & Sylvia fan, and the set brings back many fond youthful memories of listening to the duo on my parents' living room stereo and of seeing them perform live at the legendary Cellar Door in Washington, DC. With the availability of this set, and (either domestically or as imports) both MGM albums, the first Great Speckled Bird, and the first Columbia album, perhaps someone can be persuaded to reissue 1972's You Were on My Mind, so we can have a complete record of Ian & Sylvia searing and soaring harmonies, as well as their quirky innovations in both folk and country-flavored rock."
Ian & Sylvia - The Real Deal
EDL | London, UK | 03/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Folk music has been attracting more interest from both ends of the critical spectrum. Vanguard had good reason to reissue this 4 CD set of one of the greatest folk duos of all time. On the other hand some critics have reacted to the recent interest in the period (as indicated by the movie, A Mighty Wind) to poke gentle fun at or write off folk music and its key players as out of date (f ex the Sunday Times of London, which referred to the music of the era as "better left dead and buried" and Ian & Sylvia as "an obscure Canadian folk singing group" ).There's no better way to decide where you are on the divide than to buy this terrific collection and give it the many hours of listening that are due. To be clear, Ian & Sylvia were never part of the Burle Ives, Kingston Trio faux folk scene. They were and always have been, all apologies to the Kerry campaign, the Real Deal. Here's why : the music - a collection of originals from their best albums by both Ian and Sylvia, who continue their excellent songwriting today, traditional songs, covers of Dylan and other artists, and progressive expansions into folk rock and country music, has lasted and it endures. The quality, uniqueness and professionalism of Ian & Sylvia were compelling in its time and continue to captivate listeners globally ; and indeed there are very few duos out there today which have this range or depth in vocals and energy. Since the music itself is primarily traditional, what separates Ian & Sylvia from the rest is their distinctive combination of voices, their sublime harmonies, and their studio work, which was flawless. You can hear a number of these songs by other folk artists, but few of them stick to the mind and soul as these versions do, and their own classics such as "Some Day Soon" and "Four Strong Winds" continue to resonate through their own recordings and those of artists who covered them. This set succeeds in preserving and promoting for the future a powerful legacy of remarkable music which the group's many fans (as can be seen on numerous web sites on the group)and newcomers will appreciate. And if you are interested in what happened since their break up, take a look at Ian Tyson's remarkable career as a country and cowboy song artist starting with his Canadian platinum "Cowboyography" album throuhg the latest "Live at Longview" and Sylvia's work as leader of the all women Canadian group 'Quartet'. The combined work over 40 years including this seminal collection is simple awesome."