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Stompin' Tom Connors

Souvenirs: 25 of the Best – 1998 (EMI Canada)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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CDs by Stompin' Tom Connors

Though a legendary figure in his native Canada, Tom Connors' name is almost completely unknown to Americans; even to those whose knowledge of country music is as vast as...well, as vast as Canada itself. And despite his fiercely patriotic odes to all things Canadian, these days, Connors' name is probably more recognized than his music by young Canadians who have grown up in the Shania Twain era.

Part of EMI Canada's extensive reissue program of Stompin' Tom's catalog, this is the place to start for those interested in exploring Connors' tributes to Canadian sports ("The Hockey Song"), Canadian women ("Alberta Rose," "Suzanne de Lafayette," "A Real Canadian Girl," etc.) and even the Canadian military ("Blue Berets"). Connors' best-known song, "Bud the Spud," is also included. Though the emphasis on Canadian life might get a little wearying to non-Canadians, a listener can't help but admire Connors' willingness to stick it out in his native land, writing solid country music about his native land rather than the American southwhile his contemporaries high-tailed it for the bright lights of Nashville.

One minor caveat: The liner notes are wholly inadequate, with no information as to recording dates, personnel, album of origin, etc. Other than that, this is a generous and welcome introduction to a talented individual whose 30-year career is a tribute to his pride in his native land.