Nashville Ian & Sylvia


World excluding USA & Canada
Catalogue Id:
VMD 79284

By the time Ian & Sylvia went into the studio to cut “Nashville”, they had already begun work on their first album for new label MGM. Dylan's then manager Albert Grossman had secured the new record deal but the Canadian duo still owed Vanguard one last disc and “Nashville” fulfilled that obligation. Recorded in February 1968, the LP was certainly no casual contractual affair. The supporting country session players included the outstanding group that would eventually become Area Code 615 as well as such élite pickers as Jerry Reed and Fred Carter.

The managerial role filled by Grossman had ensured Ian & Sylvia were among the first to hear Dylan's “Basement Tapes”. Consequently, they were also among the first to record versions of these new Dylan songs: in fact, the “Nashville” take of This Wheel’s On Fire was probably the first ever cover version of this classic song to be released on disc.

Stylistically, the recording sessions provided advance notice of the country rock revolution that was swiftly germinating out of the folk and hippie movements. At the same time, the duo exercised their formidable harmonising vocals in a variety of settings - not only country rock but also country, West Coast rock and folk. Some of the vocals are substantial: others more transitional. It's as if the last of the duo's seven albums for Vanguard was signalling not only the end of their folk journey but the subsequent artistic breakup of the early 70s.

Songs of note here are Dylan's This Wheel's On Fire, David Rea's 90 Degrees by 90 Degrees, Sylvia's Southern Comfort (very Buffy Sainte-Marie-ish) plus Ian's Farewell To The North and House Of Cards. The album is one of those that surrenders its secrets gradually. Easily overlooked on first hearing, “Nashville” provided a fitting finale to Ian & Sylvia's Vanguard years.

By John Crosby

Track listing

Side 1

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