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STAN ROGERS - Northwest Passage

STAN ROGERS - Northwest Passage
Borealis Records BCD217

These are the fourth and fifth of five original Stan Rogers CDs to be re-mastered and re-released by Borealis Records, and as such are an important part of the great wealth of music that this Canadian songwriting giant has left behind.

Northwest Passage is seen by many as Stan’s biggest hit, and indeed it is certainly one of the most well known - many would be happy to see it adopted as Canada’s national anthem. It is the opening track in an album that spans many musical genres, often with a slight country or folk-rock feel, but which features some fantastic storytelling inspired by time spent in the North and West of Canada. Lies, Free In The Harbour, The Idiot and The Field Behind The Plow are all here, along with some other gems.

From Fresh Water, recorded some two years later in 1982/3, features many of Stan’s songs about the Great Lakes and Ontario, the province in which he was born. Again, there are some of his classic songs here – White Squall, Tiny Fish For Japan, and the achingly beautiful Lock-keeper. Sadly, Stan didn’t see the release of this album; the final mixing of it began the day after his funeral, and was completed, to their credit, by his widow Ariel and long time musical collaborator, Paul Mills.

Stan Rogers had an outstanding ability to tell the stories of the people he met on his travels, giving them a voice, and allowing us to share in their experiences. Coupled with his rich, incredibly emotive baritone voice, this ability is surely what makes him one of the greatest songwriters ever to grace our stages.

Fiona Heywood


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This album was reviewed in Issue 95 of The Living Tradition magazine.