December 24, 2011

Whatever happened to Ian of Ian & Silvia?

"I don't think we were playing very well back then, but it didn't matter... Folk was huge, and the shows were permeated by an incredible energy."

Here's "Four Strong Winds." Judge for yourself.

Here's his new memoir. He looks like Ronald Reagan on the cover, but he's doing that Reagan-ing in Canada, where he was born.
I didn't like going from being a top-of-the-pile folk duo to a discredited schlock act, from prince and princess of the whole thing to nothing. I got pretty angry about it. Around 1970 Sylvia and I went to see the Flying Burrito Brothers at a little joint in Manhattan. They were loud and out of tune, but we could see that they were going somewhere, and I was stewing because I thought we were much better than they were.
Even though they weren't very good! Ian "got drunk" and "yell[ed] at Sylvia." Aw.

They were the model for Mitch and Mickey in "A Mighty Wind"... weren't they?

17 comments:

Craig said...

I don't know what became of Ian, but Sylvia performed for many years with an all girl folk group that included the daughter of one of my dad's colleagues.

Mazo Jeff said...

Hey Craig! That wasn't "The Womenfolk" was it??

Craig said...

Think it was just called Quartette. One of the group died not long ago.

Bill31 said...

Ian Tyson has enjoyed a life as a working cowboy in Canada, and has written and performed, in my opinion, the very best in true Western /Cowboy music you're likely to hear. Google and check out any of his albums, from Ian and Sylvia to his latest. He's one talented fellow

Mark O said...

"Someday Soon" is one of the great songs of all time. Find Ian on YouTube. Great stuff.

edutcher said...

Well, good for him. He was an old drinking buddy of Gordon Lightfoot.

And I think he looks more like Tommy Lee Jones.

PS Ditto on "Some Day Soon".

dbp said...

Mitch and Mickey are better. And they were just comedians playing folk singers.

bagoh20 said...

"A Mighty Wind" and "Spinal Tap" both were devastating blows to their respective genres. Each made it hard to enjoy some artists afterward.

Does anyone wish either movie was never made?

LarryTheOlder said...

I love your blog, Ann. Ian and Sylvia led me to Gordon Lightfoot in the comments. I went on iTunes and listened to Gordon Lightfoot and bought his "If I could read your mind". I had forgotten how much I loved listening to that song until I heard it again. Thanks!

Big Mike said...

Interesting. I'm listening to two good voices, but they don't blend very well, do they? They're two singers instead of one duet.

I thought the Chad Mitchell Trio did a better job with that song. The only YouTube I can find of them is here, which is a reunion after the group broke up (Chad Mitchell being replaced by some guy named John Denver) so their voices are plainly starting to go. Even so ...

Well, you decide.

Chip S. said...

folk tales > folk wisdom > folk medicine >>> folk music.

Big Mike said...

PS: The song itself starts around the 2:20 mark.

David said...

Hey, he wrote a book about himself and it's less than 200 pages. That's an accomplishment.

Where's Sylvia? How is she doing?

As a duo, they were good enough--had a sound and a look that worked for a while.

You want longevity? think Bing Crosby or Mick Jagger.

grgeil said...

I became a fan of Ian Tyson because folk/western singers like Michael Martin Murphy and Jerry Jeff Walker have recorded several of his songs. I have bought several Ian Tyson CDs over the years, and it was only recently when I wanted to see video of him performing (on You Tube) that I discovered he had a previous life as part of a folk duo.

el polacko said...

their rendition of 'early morning rain' has always been a personal fave. what fun it was being a young 'beatnik'! those were the days.

vnjagvet said...

Der Bingle died at 74 and Mick is only 68. Ian's a spry 78 now and still performing. I think he at least gets the longevity prize.

Popville said...

Tho I've heard many renditions of Four Strong Winds, my favorite remains one sung by Neil Young & Nicolette Larson that appears on Young's superlative 1978 album Comes A Time.