Few Canadian pop groups attain The Parachute Club’s level of passion, intelligence or invention. But although its Juno-award-winning single Rise Up achieved popularity in U.S. dance clubs, it never won the group a lucrative niche in the American market. However, its fortunes should change with Small Victories, the group’s third and most commercially sophisticated album. Producer John Oates, the diminutive half of the top-selling white soul duo Hall & Oates, has drawn a confident, sparkling performance from lead singer Lorraine Segato, most noticeably on “Love is Fire,” a duet rich with falsetto that he sings with her. Oates has also added zest to such upbeat numbers as “Tearing the Veil” and “Walk to the Rhythm of your Heartbeat.” The songs, consistently stronger than on previous albums, still deal largely with romance and politics. But the group’s trademark blend of Caribbean beats is missing, replaced by a distinct move in the direction of rhythm and blues. It may earn The Parachute Club the larger audience it deserves.
Ian Tyson (Stony Plain/RCA)
While increasing numbers of urban sophisticates are taking up traditional country-and-western music, it is refreshing to hear the sounds of an artist who actually lives the cowboy life. On Cowboyography, Ian Tyson draws directly from experiences on his ranch near Pincher Creek, Alta., to sing about coyotes, broncos and cowpunchers. Vivid and honest, the album is like inhaling the scent of sagebrush or tasting sarsaparilla. On “Cowboy Pride,” Tyson counsels a stubborn friend who has lost his ranching job and who risks losing his wife for “runnin’ with that waitress.” And “Own Heart’s Delight” is a homespun waltz featuring fiddles and pedal steel guitar. The bonus is Tyson’s rendition of “Summer Wages,” a song he originally made popular with his former wife and folksinging partner, Sylvia. For country-and-western fans, Cowboyography is the genuine article.
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