Ian Tyson is still a great singer and song writer. After forty years his voice has lost some range--I guess he found no foun-
tain of youth--but his control is great and his writing is at least good as ever. Some of the songs on the CD don't appeal to me much, but its obvious Tyson takes the emotions serious-
ly. Nothing ever seems false.
As a singer, he's become quite matter-of-fact when dealing with subjects which are, for many of his story-telling personae, matters of great personal loss or nostalgia. "Old Double Dia-mond", "MC Horses" and "Fifty Years Ago" are songs with legitimately sad subjects, but Tyson's characters never cry in their beer--at least not while he's singing.
Musically the CD seems like it's from another era--one when sidemen didn't have to show off every chance they got. Don't get me wrong, because there are some real examples of instru- mental prowess--the solo guitar break in "Old Double Diamomd" is absolutely perfect the same way the solo guitar break in the studio version of "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Stones is perfect. Properly, the music supports the songs.
It's funny, but a lot of current country artistes would cer-
tainly benefit from the kind of control Ian Tyson obviously brings to the studio. I'm betting he learned how to do it the old-fashioned way. He probably earned it.