Tuesday, May 31, 2011

35 Years of Stony Plain

To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the famed Canadian record label, President Holger Petersen has issued 35 Years of Stony Plain, a two CD collection containing 41 tracks, as well as an 11-song bonus DVD. Disc one is comprised of 18 previously released tracks from the label’s best singer, songwriters, including Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Amos Garrett, and Asleep at the Wheel, as well as three previously unreleased songs by the late Bob Carpenter. Disc two contains 15 previously released tracks from the label’s best blues, R&B, swing, and jazz artists such as Joe Louis Walker, Duke Ronillard, Rory Block, and Billy Boy Arnold, along with a never before heard track from King Biscuit Boy and four songs from a 1965 Toronto session by Robert Nighthawk.

When it came time to select material for this retrospective, only one artist was deemed a must have on all three discs – that being the incomparable Jeff Healy. The late Canadian jazz and blues rock perform who gained immense popular through the 80’s and 90’s, despite having been visionless since the tender age of just eight months. Healy can be heard performing classics “The Wildcat” and “I’m Torn Down,” but the true gem of this collection is found on the bonus DVD. Toronto filmmaker Mako Funakaka created a special tribute to Healy, leading video of Jeff performing with guests Kim Wilson, Donnie Walsh and Ian Gillan, along with rare in-studio footage, all set to Jeff’s version of Neil Young’s “Like a Hurricane.”

Fans of Stony Plain will cherish all 52 tracks found on the collection, while the uninitiated should take this as a chance to delve in to the catalogue of a label dedicated to preserving many of the finest artists its country has to offer.

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