The Lost Tapes

Ian & Sylvia

Stony Plain 2019

Review by David Bowling


Ian (Tyson) & Sylvia (Fricker), both individually and as a duo, have been key artists in the Canadian music scene for over a half-century. They were also an integral part in the Greenwich Village folk revival scene of the early 1960’s. While they went their separate ways in 1975, they left behind a catalogue of folk music that has rarely been equaled in Canadian music history.

Their new album began with some spring cleaning by Sylvia, which unearthed a box of long misplaced concert tapes from the early 1970’s. These missing performances have now been released as a 2-CD set titled The Lost Tapes.

Ian & Sylvia’s new album will mostly appeal to fans of the duo or of the folk music scene of the 1960’s. While the audio is not up to modern standards; it does provide a nice glimpse into their music and concert style.

Disc one is the more traditional of the two. It consists of traditional songs and country classics including Ian Tyson’s most famous composition “Four Strong Winds.” Songs such as “Will The Circle Be Unbroken,” “Crazy Arms,” “When First Unto This Country,” and “Nancy Whiskey” are all staples of the late sixties folk scene. Ian & Sylvia had a unique vocal style so it is interesting to hear their interpretations of these old tunes.

Disc two contains 13 previously unreleased performances. Many of the songs are not usually associated with the duo or folk music. It allows them to explore material beyond their norm and shows their willingness to take some chances in concert.

Today, Ian & Sylvia are sometimes an after thought in the folk revival movement but The Lost Tapes will hopefully bring their legacy some new attention.

Rating: ***1/2