Can-Con 45 Of The Day - January 28

Can-Con 45 Of The Day - January 28

Postby radiofan » Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:49 pm

Today's Can-Con 45 is from 1971 ... Ian and Sylvia and "Summer Wages" ...

Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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Re: Can-Con 45 Of The Day - January 28

Postby Richard Skelly » Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:47 am

Always fun to read the YouTube comments for old tunes. Not one but two commenters to Summer Wages consider it the best Canadian folk song ever. High praise for songwriter Ian Tyson and, indirectly for then-spouse Sylvia’s vocal contributions.

But it’s quite a stretch to lump Summer Wages into the folk genre. By this point (1971) in their career, Ian and Sylvia were all-in on new country. Before long they’d drop their duo moniker and become Great Speckled Bird with gifted bandmates like guitarist Amos Garrett. Pedal steel wizard Ben Keith and bassist Ken Kalmusky (both deceased) also were in GSB.

A couple of YouTube scribes relate to the travelling-to-Vancouver references in Summer Wages. I like Ian’s description of Main Street taverns where “the dreams of the season are spilled down on the floor.” Back in the early ‘70s, well before the hard drugs and violence took hold, Skid Row was rowdy but honourable. Down on their luck war vets, off-reserve natives and seasonally unemployed miners and loggers made their own distinct community. I saw the passing parade firsthand while working part time at the City Nights, a repertory cinema operating out of the old Pantages Theatre. I’d often quaff an after-work beer and learn the back story of a colourful tablemate.

Ian Tyson may have reduced some airplay of Summer Wages by mentioning “hookers.” But Columbia labelmates Simon and Garfunkel had gotten away with warbling about “whores” three years earlier in The Boxer. So Ian knew times were changing. A great evocative song.
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