Home Read Classic Album Review: Ian & Sylvia | The Complete Vanguard Studio Recordings

Classic Album Review: Ian & Sylvia | The Complete Vanguard Studio Recordings

This four-disc set has everything you want (and more) from the folk & country duo.


This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Thanks to the runaway success of the award-winning soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?, there are more roots, folk, country, blues and Americana music collections around than you can shake a hickory switch at. Here’s the lowdown on one:

No. of CDs: Four.
No. of Songs: A whopping 90.
The Concept: Everything you wanted to hear (and, I suspect, more) from this Canadian folk and country duo — seven albums’ worth of material recorded between 1963 and ’68.
The Execution: Illuminating. The Tysons were far more eclectic than you might expect, mixing blues, soul and country-rock in with the jangly, strummy folk-duo ditties we all know them for. But does anybody really need five hours of Ian and Sylvia in one shot?
Names Dropped: Um, Ian. And Sylvia. Oh, and there are covers of tunes by Gordon Lightfoot, Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan.
Choice Cuts: Familiar fare like Four Strong Winds, You Were On My Mind, For Lovin’ Me and 24 Hours From Tulsa; cool album tracks like the 16 Tons-style gospel of Rocks and Gravel and Poor Lazarus and the organ-flecked go-go soul grooves of When I Was A Cowboy.
Extras! Extras! An 80-page book with extensive biographies; one unreleased Francophone track.
Perfect For: The old folky in your family.

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