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Great Speckled Bird


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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 when the recording artists were listed as Ian and Sylvia with Great Speckled Bird.


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  • meanmrmustard

    PS, it's weird that Ian and Sylvia isn't a similar artist.

    18 Jul 2008 Reply
  • meanmrmustard

    Yes, but according to Wikipedia, "Americana refers to artifacts of the culture of the United States," and last time I checked Canada wasn't part of the US.

    18 Jul 2008 Reply
  • MickGunz06

    last i checked Canada was still part of North America ;)

    21 May 2008 Reply
  • LongTallSally

    Why did someone tag this americana? It's a Canadian band!

    23 Apr 2008 Reply

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