Colin Linden The Columbia Years

Colin Linden The Columbia Years
Before firmly establishing himself as an ace roots music producer and finding commercial success in Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Linden was pursuing a solo career as a blues-rooted singer/songwriter/guitarist. It's pleasing to see this earlier work given a second chance. This box set contains the four discs he recorded for Sony Music Canada, back when major labels here actually signed worthy artists. 1988's When The Spirit Comes features a clean-shaven and decidedly younger-sounding Linden, and the material is a little more rock-oriented (he even scored a radio semi-hit with "Miles Away From You"). The title track and a version of the Band classic "Chest Fever" are highlights, as are contributions from Rick Danko and Garth Hudson (the Band's influence on Linden's work is undeniable). Those two, Levon Helm and Linden's pal Bruce Cockburn are all featured on 1994's South At Eight North At Nine. The Juno-winning album is more blues-based, with Linden paying homage to his influences with covers of Willie Dixon, Sonny Terry and Blind Lemon Jefferson, alongside such fine originals as "Richard Lee" and "Dry Land." A horn section and the gospel voices of the Fairfield Four add depth to 1995's Through The Storm, Through The Night, while the rich resonance of Linden's current voice is already in place. Aside from one Cockburn tune, all the songs on 1997's Raised By Wolves are originals, while guests include Cockburn, Colin James and BARK comrades Tom Wilson and Stephen Fearing. By this time, on tracks like the epic "Raging River" and the moving "George Chuvalo," Linden is firing on all cylinders as a songwriter, guitarist, singer and producer of rare talent and integrity. A new solo album is due soon, so this will be a banner year for Linden fans. (True North)