Four Strong Winds   Leave a comment

We each took our own photos, and Harper made the composite. You’ll find the full-size version (1920 wallpaper) on Harper’s Flickr stream.

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If there’s a song that is considered “quintessentially Canadian,” it’s Ian Tyson’s “Four Strong Winds.” Around 55 years have passed since Ian wrote it, and performed it with his then-wife Sylvia Tyson (née Fricker). “Four Strong Winds” became not only a standard in the Canadian repertoire, but also well known in the United States after performers such as Judy Collins and Johnny Cash performed it.

It’s amazing how much of our world and experience is summed up in two short verses and a repeating chorus. Inside less than 150 words, Tyson talks about the changeability of the Canadian weather and the protagonist travelling to a specific province, as well as the impermanence of a relationship between a rover and his lady. The song is so loved by Canadians that hundreds of residents of Calgary, Alberta brought their guitars and mandolins and about any string instrument with them to a park during our 150th anniversary festivities back in 2017, and played and sung “Four Strong Winds” together to lyrics and chords flashed up on a screen.

Four strong winds that blow lonely
Seven seas that run high
All those things that don’t change come what may
But our good times are all gone
And I’m bound for movin’ on
I’ll look for you if I’m ever back this way

Think I’ll go out to Alberta
Weather’s good there in the fall
I got some friends that I can go to workin’ for
Still I wish you’d change your mind
If I asked you one more time
But we’ve been through that a hundred times or more

Four strong winds that blow lonely
Seven seas that run high
All those things that don’t change come what may
But our good times are all gone
And I’m bound for movin’ on
I’ll look for you if I’m ever back this way

Photographs taken in Calas Galadhon, Mirrormere region

If I get there before the snow flies
And if things are goin’ good
You could meet me if I sent you down the fare
But by then it would be winter
There ain’t too much for you to do
And those winds sure can blow cold way out there

Four strong winds that blow lonely
Seven seas that run high
All those things that don’t change come what may
But our good times are all gone
And I’m bound for movin’ on
I’ll look for you if I’m ever back this way

“Four Strong Winds,” written by Ian Tyson; recorded originally by Ian & Sylvia. Copyright by Warner Chappell Music.

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For those who are curious, here’s what I’m wearing.

  • Head: AK Deluxe Brandon
  • Full body: Signature Geralt 1.1
  • Eyes: Ikon Odyssey (Midnight)
  • Jacket and shirt: FashionNatic Albus jacket with shirt (brown)
  • Pants: Pathos dark blue jeans
  • Boots: Caligula Ranger boots (Dirty Brown)
  • Hat: A&R Design Saint Western hat

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Many a cover of “Four Strong Winds” has been recorded; I’ve always preferred the “folkier” versions, similar to the original by Ian & Sylvia. I couldn’t decide which I preferred here, so I’ll put in both the Tysons’ and a version by John Denver. (I also like Judy Collins’ version; there’s a video of her performing it with Glen Campbell, but it’s of poor quality.) Why not the version by Neil Young, another Canadian? Well, at least to my taste, he does … things … to it, beyond just inverting the order of the chorus and verses. It’s not bad; it’s just not right.

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