- World excluding USA & Canada
- Catalogue Id:
- VMD 79241
From 1966, “So Much For Dreaming” was the sixth of seven albums that Ian and Sylvia issued on Vanguard Records during the sixties, and came a year or so after they had established their position as key folk-rock artists with their oft-covered songs like ‘Four Strong Winds’ and ‘Early Morning Rain’. The Canadian pair were married by this point, but had started as a singing duo on the Toronto folk club circuit in 1959. After some help and prompting from Pete Seeger, in 1962 they relocated to New York where they were spotted at Gerde's Folk City by Albert Grossman who pointed them towards Vanguard. After an initial album of mostly traditional folk songs, the pair hit their stride with their own songs, and gradually began to add extra instrumentation that helped then define the New York folk-rock sound that became so influential around the world. On this album they are augmented by drummer Alvin Rogers, Fender bassist Robert Bushnell and guitarist David Rae, the latter being briefly a member of Fairport Convention during 1972.
This album opens with the lilting Joni Mitchell song ‘The Circle Game’, that they had recorded even before Joni had. Continuing the contemporary approach, Ian's title track comes next and helps to set the tone and feel for the album, with the pair's floaty vocals overlapping each other as the track builds with additional orchestration from Trade Martin. More of Ian's songs follow, including ‘Wild Geese’ and ‘Summer Wages’ with the latter cautionary tale being one that he sang many times over the years. Sylvia's own songs here are the rhythmic ‘Hold Tight’ and the more reflective album closer ‘Grey Morning’. They come together with their co-arrangement of ‘Come All Ye Fair And Tender Ladies’ making it one of the best and most attractive examples of their ability to re-mould a song and make it their own. Another traditional song that they rearrange is ‘Cutty Wren’ that shows that they hadn't forgotten their roots and how they could bring a new twist to such a song, in this case with their interchanging vocal lines against some tinkling percussion. ‘Si Les Bateaux’ from Gilles Vignault and Robert Petway's ‘Catfish Blues’ are two more 'outside' songs, with Vignault's being a gentle French song constructed with differing sections, while Petway's is a funky blues sung effectively and commandingly by Sylvia on her own.
The album sold reasonably well, reaching #130 on Billboard, though their earlier albums “Northern Journey” and “Early Morning Rain” had fared better reaching up into the 70s. They were soon to make a move to MGM Records, but were not to really replicate the quality and accessibility of the Vanguard albums where they forged their most memorable work and cut their very best songs.