Ian Tyson

Ian was born in Victoria, British Columbia in 1933. His father George Tyson had come to Canada in 1906 and went to work as a ranch hand in the Bowden-Innisfail area north of Calgary . Ian grew up reading Will James (external link) books about the wild west. The only thing Ian wanted to be when he grew up was a cowboy, a career that his father tried to discourage him from. When he was a teenager, he began riding broncs in local rodeos, that lead to a 20 year amateur rodeo career as a bronc rider and calf roper. Then in 1956 at a rodeo in Alberta, Ian had a accident that blew his ankle out, permanently damaging it. In a Calgary hospital, recovering from surgery that rebuilt and pinned his ankle, he learned how to play the guitar.

In 1958 , at age 24 he and moved to Toronto to follow his musical career. There he met Sylvia Fricker and formed an alliance that became Ian and Sylvia. They eventually married and had a son Clay. Ian became disillusioned with life in the city and eventually bought a small ranch outside Toronto. Since his ankle injury prevented him from returning to the rodeo circuit, he took up what he calls "an old man's rodeo", cutting horse competitions. The more he became immersed in the cutting horses, the more he thought about moving back to the west.

Then in 1975, after his divorce from Sylvia, he moved out to southern Alberta and worked as a ranch hand. He then worked at a local cowboy bar in Calgary, called The Ranchman (it is still there and open, on Macleod Trail in Calgary) There he met a teenage waitress, Twylla Dvorkin and had what some consider a scandalous affair. They eventually married in August of 1986 and have a daughter named Adelita. All three live on the T-Bar-Y ranch in Longview, just south of Calgary.

In 1983 he recorded an album in his living room that was intended as a Christmas present for his friends, it was a collection of old western classics, ballads and songs that he had wrote. Thus his second career had begun, the album was Old Corrals and Sagebrush.


Special thanks to Internet Cowboy for above info on Ian Tyson


Ian Tyson
I Outgrew the Wagon

CD released (December 4, 1993)
Original Release Date:(January 25, 1989)
label: Stony Plain
This is the best of his series of homegrown album on what he calls "cowboy culture." Included are simple, unadorned songs affectionately yet unromantically examining rural life on the Canadian plains, as well as a couple of philosophical offerings. ~ Michael McCall, All Music Guide

Ian Tyson
Lost Herd

CD (March 23, 1999)
Original Release Date March 23, 1999

Ian's First New CD in Five Years. Recorded in Toronto and Nashville

Unlike his cowboy contemporaries Skip Gorman and Don Edwards, Ian Tyson doesn't reach back to the Old West for inspiration. He has been a working rancher since the 1970s, and Tyson's songs make reference to cell phones as well as bay studs. Rather than demand that he not be fenced in, he sings, "I've roamed this world as a free man / One thing I ask of you / Don't let them put no tubes in me." No managed care for Tyson! Lost Herd finds the Canadian range rider mining the kind of big-sky acoustic sounds that first earned him notoriety as one-half of Ian & Sylvia, of "You Were on My Mind" and "Four Strong Winds" acclaim. Alternately virile and sensitive, this cowpoke is comfortable enough with his masculinity to sign off with a Judy Garland tune--"Over the Rainbow." Culled from sessions out of Toronto, Nashville, and Calgary, these songs are as wind-worn and comfortable as a weathered saddle. --Steven Stolder

Great Speckled Bird
self titled

Reissued 2006 on CCM-702

Ampex label (Ampex A10103)
original CD Release Date: Jan 17, 1995
Label: Stony Plain (Canada)


(From thecoolgroove.com) Great Speckled Bird was a pioneering country-rock band that originated in Canada in 1969. Ian and Sylvia (Ian Tyson and Sylvia Tyson), a well-known folk duo who rose to popularity in the early sixties, began making records in Nashville around 1968. Ian and Sylvia wanted to form their own band that played in a progressive country style. They formed Great Speckled Bird (there was no "the" in front of it), a group that was part of the country-rock movement that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Original members of the band were: Amos Garrett, guitar; Bill Keith, steel guitar; Ken Kalmusky, bass and Ricky Marcus, drums. Ian and Sylvia were the lead vocalists and Ian played guitar. Sylvia sometimes played piano. One of the most interesting aspects of the group was that it was rarely recognized by the media by its correct name.

Ian and Sylvia Tyson were so well-known as a duo that it seemed to be impossible to merge their identity into a country-rock band. All you have to do is take a look at the LP on Ampex and you will see their intentions for the group's name. It seemed the media was determined to reject the idea. This trend continues today in much of the reviews of the film Festival Express.

If mentioned at all, the group is either referred to as "Ian and Sylvia and the Great Speckled Bird" or just as "Ian and Sylvia." Of course, Ian and Sylvia finally gave up on the idea with their Columbia LP You Were On My Mind. In 1969 Bill Keith was replaced on steel guitar by Buddy Cage and Ricky Marcus was replaced on drums by N.D. Smart.

They recorded their first LP, Great Speckled Bird, in Nashville that year. It was issued on the new Ampex label (Ampex A10103) produced by Todd Rundgren, and engineered by Charlie Tallent. On those sessions, David Briggs played piano and Norbert Putnam played bass. Great Speckled Bird had their own logo designed by Walt Kelly, the cartoonist who created the comic strip Pogo.

Songs are: Love What You’re Doin’ Child; Calgary; Trucker’s Café; Long Long Time To Get Old; Flies In The Bottle; Bloodshot Beholder; Crazy Arms; This Dream, Smiling Wine; Rio Grande; Disappearing Woman; We Sail0


Ian & Sylvia
The Great Speckled Bird
You Were On My Mind

Columbia Stereo KC31337

ultra rare Vinyl LP




email ric@cdisle.ca for current availability