Goddamned Canada just makes us look silly sometimes, doesn't it? All the talent that pours out of our good neighbors to the north is at times jaw-dropping. I won't even bother cataloguing the roster, but one hell of a large chunk of the musicians and composers we Americans deeply admire hail from that colder clime, and we barely even know it half the time. Well, Ian Tyson was there when it all began, and, as he gets ever closer to his 80th birthday (Sept. 25), the sonorous sodbusting sonofabitch just will not give up his trait of superb LPs, CDs, and concerts. Nor should he. And if you're not already familiar with the man's astounding 50+ year recording history, from 1962's Ian & Sylvia debut LP, then you're probably reading the wrong music forum…but see here and here for familiarization via two of his earlier releases anyway.
Not long ago, 2006, in a concert, Ian ran into a peck of trouble as a result of trying to vocally overcome a weird PA mix by a near-deaf rock-n-roll sound man (figures!) and then contracted a persistent virus, leaving his once-fulsome vocal range greatly diminished and gravelly—very acceptably so, to my and other critics' minds and ears, though, not to mention an audience that still flocked to his discs and concerts. None of that so-called 'impediment' is a factor in All the God'uns, Vol. 2, however, as it's gathered from 5 of the 12 discs the estimable Stony Plain has issued of his work. Tyson's at the top of his game in every one of the generous 19 tracks and, if my ears are reading things rightly, even those excellent old recordings have received a sparkling remastering producing pristine, clear, three-dimensional rebirths. Stony Plain's famous for its technical expertise, among many other things, and this issuance is rock solid evidence of that.
Thus, if'n ya might be considering bypassing the anthology 'cause you already have the back catalogue, you just may want to think twice about that. Not only is the sound impeccable, but Vol. 2 is an excellently chosen well-paced review that makes you just want to sit back and sigh. Tyson's unapologetically a man of the land, and the song that does not fully reflect this, even in history lessons like La Primera, is rare, so you, dear listener, get to don spurs, boots, and chaps, climb up on a horse, and head out for open country and whistling winds alongside the guy. The awards and honors heaped on Ian Tyson are many in number, and he's regarded as one of the greatest musicians Canada's ever produced, but, really, the only thing you need to know is that this is just damn good music.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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