Various Artists: 20 Years of Stony Plain
Twenty years is a remarkable track record for any independent label living in the modern age, let alone one that specializes in never-commercially-fashionable roots music while working from the industry Mecca of Edmonton, Alberta. As committed and timeless as keynote artists Ian Tyson, Cindy Church, Amos Garrett, Maria Muldaur, Dutch Mason, Long John Baldry, and Jr. Gone Wild, Stony Plain celebrates this anniversary milestone with a two-disc, 40-track collection that samples its 240-release roots rock, country, folk, blues, R&B, and alternative-pop repertoire.
Disc one of Twenty Years of Stony Plain zeroes in on country/folk, including choice tracks from Tyson (a pair of duets with Tom Russell and Suzy Bogguss), Steve Earle, Grievous Angels, Doug Sahm with the Formerly Brothers, Bobby Charles, a Japan-only Garrett-Muldaur duet, a previously unreleased Rita Chirelli-Prairie Oyster collaboration, and splashes of alternative spice from Jr. Gone Wild and Spirit of the West.
Disc two targets the blues, led by Mason, Duke Robillard, Jimmy Witherspoon, the Holmes
Brothers, Jim Byrnes, Downchild Blues Band, Paul James with John Hammond, and
harmonica legend Walter Shakey Horton -- the first session ever produced (in 1972) by label
founder and big-kid music fan Holger Petersen, who still captains the Stony Plain ship. From
Stony Plain's reissues catalogue, 20 Years represents the likes of Winchester's and Great
Speckled Bird's classic, eponymous debuts (folk-rock and country-rock landmarks
respectively), King Biscuit Boy and Crowbar (look for upcoming compilations for each), and
Ellen McIlwaine's "I Want Whacha Got" -- the set's eye-popping, slide guitar/blues-belting
While the collection touches on the full 20 years, over half the selections are culled from 1990
to the present. As such, if something here catches your ear, it's likely to still be in print. In
another astute bit of marketing, five tracks serve as teasers from upcoming Stony Plain
releases by Long John Baldry, Roosevelt Sykes, Professor Longhair, Johnny Shines, and
Among the 40 artists presented on this Canadian 2CD compilation are Amos Garret and Maria Muldaur, with a previously unreleased live in Japan duet version of Bobby Charles and Rick Danko's "Small Town Talk" from Rick Danko's first solo album.
Various Artists - 20 Years of Stony Plain - 1996 - Stony Plain SPCD 1230