Canadian national treasure, folk rock legend, etc. etc.
This is the thread for listening thru Gord's discography, I'll post a new album every Thursday.
Lightfoot! - 1966
"Rich Man's Spiritual" – 2:44"Long River" – 2:46"The Way I Feel" – 3:43"For Lovin' Me" – 2:25"The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" – 3:10 (Ewan MacColl)"Changes" – 2:30 (Phil Ochs)"Early Morning Rain" – 3:04"Steel Rail Blues" – 2:48"Sixteen Miles (To Seven Lakes)" – 2:05"I'm Not Sayin'" – 2:28"Pride of Man" – 2:41 (Hamilton Camp)"Ribbon of Darkness" – 2:39"Oh, Linda" – 3:09"Peaceful Waters" – 2:01
― Will (kruezer2), Thursday, 28 March 2019 13:51 (nine months ago) link
― Simon H., Thursday, 28 March 2019 13:54 (nine months ago) link
Invariably I end up talking more about Gord's voice and lyrics than the music. But I really love the guitar intro in The Way I Feel. It separates it as a real step up from the first two songs I think, and it's where the record takes off. Long River feels oddly lyrically plain for one of his songs to me, if he had written it a couple years later I think it could have been a better song.
I was just reading about this album on Allmusic as I listened to it and found out that apparently Spike Lee's dad played bass on this record. If that's true his work on The Way I Feel is perfect.
Rich Man's Spiritual is a fun listen but I often skip the first two songs. I'll give it more time this week.
― Will (kruezer2), Thursday, 28 March 2019 14:50 (nine months ago) link
love this cover version:
― Emperor Tonetta Ketchup (sleeve), Thursday, 28 March 2019 15:37 (nine months ago) link
"Steel Rail Blues" makes me want to go on a proper ramble every time I hear it
― Simon H., Thursday, 28 March 2019 16:01 (nine months ago) link
^ yes, Steel Rail Blues is my favourite song on this record, and maybe my favourite of his songs, either that or Christian Island.
― Will (kruezer2), Thursday, 28 March 2019 16:04 (nine months ago) link
Just looking over the track listing, this album is packed with classics. The only 2 I can’t immediately call to mind are “16 miles” and “peaceful waters.” Will give a listen this weekend & brain-barf about it. I have both the mono and stereo versions, might try a Steve Hoffman Forum style sound comparison too.
Generally: Gord’s voice is just a treasure. The ease with which he sings is almost unparalleled — except maybe by Lyle Lovett? — he virtually floats his melodies on top of his nimble guitar paying. Regardless of his occasional lapses in taste, his talent just carries him along like a riverboat.
I was planning to listen to the discography in order anyway — I already have the records pulled off the shelf and sitting by the turntable — so, good timing!
― Una Palooka Dronka (hardcore dilettante), Friday, 29 March 2019 04:44 (nine months ago) link
There's a documentary about him at Toronto's Hot Docs this year.
― clemenza, Friday, 29 March 2019 11:28 (nine months ago) link
Well, apparently I don’t have both versions anymore, just the stereo one — and apparently I need to look out for a copy in better condition, since mine has “the warm crackle of vinyl” all the heck over it.
Still a crazy classic debut. Part of me wants to pick it apart — some of the songs are overwrought, the covers more than the originals IMO — and there’s a little too much “I’m a rambling troubadour, babe” about it... and “peaceful waters” is hardly there at all. But still, it’s packed with classics. Some of the guitar-and-bass work is beautifully hypnotic. I could listen to instrumental loops of “the way I feel” forever.
― Una Palooka Dronka (hardcore dilettante), Saturday, 30 March 2019 05:14 (nine months ago) link
This is exciting! I'm curious but a bit trepidatious about venturing post-Endless Dream. I've never knowingly heard any 80s adult contemporary David Foster-era Gord!
― softspool, Saturday, 30 March 2019 06:19 (nine months ago) link
― ripersnifle, Saturday, 30 March 2019 19:04 (nine months ago) link
― frogbs, Sunday, 31 March 2019 03:24 (nine months ago) link
that Fotheringay cover of The Way I Feel is ace. It has a sinister, witchy undercurrent to it. Those drums.
― softspool, Sunday, 31 March 2019 03:56 (nine months ago) link
Hell yes I've waited fifteen years for this thread.
― NoTimeBeforeTime, Sunday, 31 March 2019 04:10 (nine months ago) link
I'm wondering if he might be the second-most-covered Canadian behind Young.
― Simon H., Sunday, 31 March 2019 04:21 (nine months ago) link
Even just Early Morning Rain covers. I unabashedly love the Peter, Paul and Mary cover of that...which made him famous initially, I think?
― softspool, Sunday, 31 March 2019 05:10 (nine months ago) link
Internationally famous, not just Canadian famous, obv.
― softspool, Sunday, 31 March 2019 05:13 (nine months ago) link
I’m super interested in the reactions of folks who’re coming to this thread from a casual knowledge of Lightfoot’s music. For me it’s so bound up in personal history that I can’t really trust my own responses.
The United Artists albums, especially, just get me in a way that I suspect they don’t quite merit. I hear him overreaching and overwriting in a similar way to Paul Simon during the same period. The casual sexism rankles a bit. But I can’t bring myself to fault the records for it.
That Fotheringay cover, Good god!
― Una Palooka Dronka (hardcore dilettante), Sunday, 31 March 2019 19:07 (nine months ago) link
Very glad to see this thread. I've been into Gord since...geez, 15. Half my life!
It's all because of that hidden camera show "Trigger Happy TV" - they do this sketch about a depressed painter in the park, and I always thought the background music was absolutely gorgeous. I looked up what it was; "If You Could Read My Mind", so next time I was at the shop I decided to put down the $11.99 for "Complete Greatest Hits", only to find that the American version of the show used soundalikes. Didn't matter, I loved the CD anyway. I thought it was cool to dig something so far away from what I normally listened to (if you know my posting here, my tastes haven't really changed much), plus I'd wondered for years about "Sundown" and "Edmund Fitzgerald", both songs I liked but never know who sang 'em.
At the time myself and another dude were the weekend closers at Burger King and we used to play this CD in the kitchen at closing all the time. Really annoyed some of the managers, but we were the ones doing the real work. That was nice because we usually got done around the time "Edmund Fitzgerald" came on so I never had to hear the uh..."less good" later stuff. In college I bought a ton of Lightfoot LPs for a buck or two each - every shop had like 5 copies of Endless Wire and Summertime Dream but if you dug around you could get the earlier stuff. On Amazon you could get "The United Artists Collection" for $9.99, a double disc with his first four albums on it...such insane value for the money.
Anyway...looking forward to Gording out with y'all
― frogbs, Monday, 1 April 2019 13:34 (nine months ago) link
I also spun “Early Lightfoot” this weekend, since I don’t think we’ll be covering it in this thread. 10 sides he cut in, I think, ‘62? The debut record is such a huge leap forward, it’s amazing to think it was recorded just over a year later. Intriguing to hear how he just shamelessly ripped off “Remember Me, I’m the One Who Loves You” (same as he did with The First/Last Time I Saw Her/Your Face”). Jim Reeves vibes all over the place. And you can hear echoes of “Negotiations” in “Rich Man’s Spiritual” although he’s synthesized multiple influences there. Definitely not essential listening, but instructive for the hardcore fan.
Some brief but interesting notes on some of the songs incl a couple of the early ones here: https://www.lightfoot.ca/songnote.htm
― Una Palooka Dronka (hardcore dilettante), Monday, 1 April 2019 14:28 (nine months ago) link
This guy is probably my favourite songwriter tbh!
― flamboyant goon tie included, Monday, 1 April 2019 15:33 (nine months ago) link
Ever since I got Tidal I play his stuff fairly regularly, wonderful morning music.
― flamboyant goon tie included, Monday, 1 April 2019 15:35 (nine months ago) link
I've never listened to "Early Lightfoot" I'll give it a spin for sure. My parents got me into Gord when I was a kid, after my sisters and I graduated from listening to kids music in the car, especially on long drives we crossed the mountains from Central Alberta to get to my grandparents in Vancouver and then up to Quadra Island ever summer, Gord was what my parents played. And it was pretty much all they played all the time. My parents were really religious (that didn't stick with me but Gord did) and for some reason his music was okay for us to listen to but say Fleetwood Mac was not. Which really made no sense to me as I got older and figured out what the hell he was singing about. I must have listened to Gord's Gold I & II a thousand times.
Like I said earlier Steel Rail Blues is my favourite off this record though. When I lived in Toronto I met my wife and she lived up in North Bay. We did the trip via train (back when the Northlander still ran) a few times and I've spent a lot of time learning about the history of the trains in Northern Ontario since I've moved up here so the fact the song came to him during his trip via train from Toronto to Moosonee has really stuck with me over the years.
I like his take on Changes too, but pretty hard to fuck that song up, the McColl cover I'm not a fan of.
― Will (kruezer2), Tuesday, 2 April 2019 12:58 (nine months ago) link
I like it! Gord's voice is so pure at this point. "Changes" is a better cover, but still.
Lightfoot was 28 when this was released...kind of surprising, 28 is pretty late for a debut album (especially in the 60s!) but at the same time, he sounds like he's been singing for decades
― frogbs, Tuesday, 2 April 2019 13:35 (nine months ago) link
I grew up hearing the "Gord's Gold" versions of the United Artists songs, and still have a soft spot for them. I'm not sure if it's true that Lightfoot really didn't like his older recordings, or whether he only wanted to update and re-release them for Warners. I can understand why people would prefer the re-recordings (better recording quality, strings) but the UA material is perfect as it is. His voice improved in the 70's -- it became richer and more throaty -- but otherwise I wouldn't change a thing about this album.
― NoTimeBeforeTime, Tuesday, 2 April 2019 13:57 (nine months ago) link
yeah the version of "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" on the next album is absolutely perfect, the Gord's Gold version unnecessarily fucks with it
― frogbs, Tuesday, 2 April 2019 14:01 (nine months ago) link
^ yeah totally, CRT didn't need changing at all.
― Will (kruezer2), Tuesday, 2 April 2019 14:19 (nine months ago) link
Also I like this Marty Robbins Ribbon of Darkness cover...
I've listened to Gunfighter Ballads & Trail Songs a lot lately, was psyched to find out that he covered a Lightfoot song. It's not the greatest thing ever but I like it as a country song.
― Will (kruezer2), Tuesday, 2 April 2019 14:28 (nine months ago) link
CRT is especially an achievement (in my mind anyway) as it’s “social commentary” aged far better (as did Gord’s other political songs) than did many of his other contemporaries or say Randy Newman
― flamboyant goon tie included, Tuesday, 2 April 2019 14:32 (nine months ago) link
Newman actually did some arrangements on Lightfoot albums, iirc?
― Simon H., Tuesday, 2 April 2019 14:35 (nine months ago) link
Ya, he made an album with Ry Cooder Van Dyke and Randy, "Sit Down Young Stranger" I think? Great album
― flamboyant goon tie included, Tuesday, 2 April 2019 14:39 (nine months ago) link
Weird note: I was in a band with Gord's son for a couple years when I was 21/22. He's a monster drummer
― flamboyant goon tie included, Tuesday, 2 April 2019 14:41 (nine months ago) link
Never realised "The Way I Feel" was a Lightfoot song tbh! At least i get why Trevor sings it now.
― The Xylems of the Limes (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 2 April 2019 14:49 (nine months ago) link
Ya, he made an album with Ry Cooder Van Dyke and Randy, "Sit Down Young Stranger" I think? Great album
― flamboyant goon tie included, Tuesday, April 2, 2019 10:39 AM (fifteen minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
That makes total sense. Sit Down Young Stranger definitely feels different than the first 3 UA albums and I always wondered why.
― Will (kruezer2), Tuesday, 2 April 2019 14:59 (nine months ago) link
It's Thursday! lets do this again...
The Way I Feel - 1967
"Walls" – 2:53"If You Got It" – 2:31"Softly" – 3:26"Crossroads" – 2:58"A Minor Ballad" – 3:15"Go-Go Round" – 2:40"Rosanna" – 2:42"Home from the Forest" – 3:04"I'll Be Alright" – 2:27"Song for a Winter's Night" – 3:01"Canadian Railroad Trilogy" – 6:22"The Way I Feel" – 3:02
This album starts slow but ends really hot for me. I have a soft spot for Go-Go Round too, in my teenage days I scrawled some of the lyrics of it on the inside of one of my dresser drawers in one of the weaker acts of parental disobedience I took part in. I still remember my mother seeing it one day and just asking what song it was from then never mentioning it again. Teenage me was really let down.
― Will (kruezer2), Thursday, 4 April 2019 18:11 (nine months ago) link
Haven't listened yet, but discovered Beautiful---A Tribute To Gordon Lightfoot while cruising for outlier Maria Muldaur tracks on Spotify---other than MM and the Cowboy Junkies, got enough Canadian Content for the CBC, I should think! (Even if you don't count my favorite draft dodger, Jesse Winchester RIP.)https://www.discogs.com/Various-Beautiful-A-Tribute-To-Gordon-Lightfoot/release/2361090
― dow, Thursday, 4 April 2019 18:27 (nine months ago) link
this one is more hit & miss than the first album but I think it's a better album because the high points are so freakin' good. I'll have a listen tonight with a pint of Labatt.
― frogbs, Thursday, 4 April 2019 20:12 (nine months ago) link
xp Cowboy Junkies are from Toronto, and Maria Muldaur records for a Canadian label (Stony Plain). Jesse Winchester did become a Canadian citizen.
― Ρεμπετολογια, Thursday, 4 April 2019 21:21 (nine months ago) link
There's a great cover of Rosanna by The Unintended, which was a short-lived(?) Toronto-based supergroup made up of The Sadies, Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo, and Rick Wright from Eric's Trip/Elevator, etc. It's on this great split EP with the Constantines from 2006. The Unintended do Lightfoot songs, and the Constantines do Neil Young. All the Gord covers are awesome, imo. This particular one made me really pay attention to a song I never paid much attention to before. White on lead vocals.
― softspool, Thursday, 4 April 2019 23:43 (nine months ago) link
argh, Rick *White
― softspool, Thursday, 4 April 2019 23:47 (nine months ago) link
That split is one of the most expensive albums I own! I adore Rick White
"Softly"'s popularity mystifies me, but yes the end of the record is so so strong. "Trilogy" is one of my favourite songs of all time.. this fucking lyric:
For there was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not runWhen the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sunLong before the white man and long before the wheelWhen the green dark forest was too silent to be real
― flamboyant goon tie included, Friday, 5 April 2019 01:13 (nine months ago) link
Holy shit! I mean , it makes sense that it would be pricey given it was a limited pressing, but still. That record is awesome, though, and it should be more widely heard. Re: CRT - That lyric just stills me and makes me pay attention.
― softspool, Friday, 5 April 2019 03:47 (nine months ago) link
slight aside, but my lord I loved the Constantines. I think one of the best shows I ever saw had them headlining a bill w/ Jim Guthrie (ft. a wonderful string accompanist...), Gentlemen Reg, and the Sea Snakes at a teensy Mtl venue that no longer exists. that was a formative gig for me, not to mention a wondersul little assemblage of Canadiana in a small space. (It was the fall "Funeral" was released and it was played between sets over the PA to an adoring, singalong audience.)
― Simon H., Friday, 5 April 2019 04:37 (nine months ago) link
^ Now I gotta go back and listen to the Constantines all day, been too long!
Also, and its for corny Canadiana reasons, but I love that they named an album Tournament of Hearts.
― Will (kruezer2), Friday, 5 April 2019 14:55 (nine months ago) link
I saw the Constantines quite a bit during their active period, and man did they cook - *especially* in a teensy venue. When they were in the zone, I found they really had complete command of the language of that communal small venue show experience, if that makes any sense. <3 the canadian trivia easter egg of the tournament of hearts line. that's some corn I can get behind!
― softspool, Friday, 5 April 2019 16:50 (nine months ago) link
That "Rosanna" cover is great. The Sadies must have one hell of a Rolodex by now.
― Simon H., Friday, 5 April 2019 16:54 (nine months ago) link
To complete the circle back to Gord: Travis and Dallas Good of the Sadies are the sons of Bruce Good of the Good Brothers (1970s country/bluegrass outfit) who played on Old Dan's Records (and maybe other stuff?). Could that mean that Gordon Lightfoot himself is on the Sadies' Rolodex?
― softspool, Friday, 5 April 2019 17:10 (nine months ago) link
It's possible! I'll ask them next time I see them. Constantines were the best band, really, around album #3 they kind of started taking more cues from The Band than Fugazi and I liked them less but still loved them. Their reunion shows have been off-the-hook good
― flamboyant goon tie included, Friday, 5 April 2019 19:03 (nine months ago) link
loved the first Bry Webb record, too. actually not a million miles from Gord.
― Simon H., Friday, 5 April 2019 19:09 (nine months ago) link
"Race" has some of my favorite lyrics - "When you wake up to the promise/Of your dream world comin' true/With one less friend to call on/Was it someone that I knew?"
anyway, this album is fine...don't know if I really like the steel twang on nearly every track, but the songs are good. "Too Many Clues in This Room" was a nice tune to rediscover.
― frogbs, Thursday, 20 June 2019 18:49 (seven months ago) link
Protocol was my big find this week. Spanish Moss is pretty great even if it throws me off to hear him sing about the American South.
I've recently read a book about the history of shipwrecks on the great lakes so I found The Wreck particularly affecting lately.
― Will (kruezer2), Thursday, 27 June 2019 13:39 (six months ago) link
"Daylight Katy" – 4:18"Sweet Guinevere" – 3:16"Hangdog Hotel Room" – 2:35"If There's a Reason" – 4:52"Endless Wire" – 4:07"Dreamland" – 2:53"Songs the Minstrel Sang" – 2:49"Sometimes I Don't Mind" – 2:53"If Children Had Wings" – 3:50"The Circle Is Small (I Can See It in Your Eyes)" – 4:03
I've got a lot of love for this and the next two albums. Which is about as far as I've ever gone in Lightfoot's catalogue. The title track is a favourite of mine. I like the first four songs as well. The retread of The Circle is Small isn't really necessary but always welcome.
― Will (kruezer2), Thursday, 27 June 2019 13:42 (six months ago) link
I get this one & Summer Side of Life mixed up a lot...they even both have a monochrome headshot as the cover! but this is a much better album - don't have much to say about *that* song except A) I drive past Whitefish Bay all the time and B) is this the first appearance of a synthesizer on a Gord album? (that little twiddly line about 2:30 in)
― frogbs, Thursday, June 20, 2019 2:22 PM (one week ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
I was looking at the personnel lists on some of the albums and Gene Martynec that did the Moog work on Summertime Dream also did the work on Seven Island Suite & Is There Anyone Home. I think those two were the first two songs Lightfoot did with Synth on them. Then Gene is credited just generically for all songs on SD. Then the synthesizer doesn't appear again until Shadows after which he uses it on all his albums except Waiting for You. Assuming all of the personnel lists are accurate.
― Will (kruezer2), Thursday, 27 June 2019 13:56 (six months ago) link
really sounds like Gord is starting to slide into middle age here. his voice is still in good form but it's undermixed and there's this feeling that his shtick is played out. I don't think any of the songs here are particularly great (and "Daylight Katy" is a remarkably flaccid album opener) but it's a solid album. hearing him do Chicago-style blues funk on "Songs the Minstrel Sang" is quite odd but I still like it. "Sometimes I Don't Mind" sounds like late-period Elvis! idk I'll have to listen to this one a few more times. I never really ventured out past Summertime Dream, though I had this one on vinyl - I think this one was the easiest one to get for a buck.
― frogbs, Friday, 28 June 2019 14:38 (six months ago) link
You know its funny, maybe I'm getting old, but I've really grown to love this album (and the next couple). But I really like Daylight Katy. Its feels more placid than flaccid to me, placid in a good way.
I like the title track a lot, it might be one of my ten favourites of his.
Sweet Guinevere has dropped in my estimation this week. I love Hangdog Hotel Room though, it's maybe not very good objectively though.
I have really come to appreciate the second half of the album a lot though. Dreamland is really relaxing and confident musically if a bit lyrically boring. Sometimes I Don't Mind is really excellent. I think I really wish Gord did an Elvis cover album.
― Will (kruezer2), Tuesday, 2 July 2019 19:21 (six months ago) link
...and we're in the 80s! I'm not surprised we've lost a fair bit of the following on this thread by now, but these albums have some nice underrated songs on them. His 80s music is the stuff I'm most excited to listen to again.
Dream Street Rose - 1980
"Sea of Tranquility" – 3:17"Ghosts of Cape Horn" – 4:09"Dream Street Rose" – 2:58"On the High Seas" – 3:18"Whisper My Name" – 3:12"If You Need Me" – 2:50"Hey You" – 2:53"Make Way for the Lady" – 3:43"Mister Rock of Ages" – 3:33"The Auctioneer" (Leroy Van Dyke, Buddy Black) – 3:51
I'll give this one a few listens and get back with some thoughts.
― Will (kruezer2), Thursday, 4 July 2019 16:43 (six months ago) link
Still reading the thread & interested to hear everyone’s thoughts. Can’t do listening club rn because of life constraints.
― Una Palooka Dronka (hardcore dilettante), Thursday, 4 July 2019 20:17 (six months ago) link
priorities...I can't do life because of Gordon Lightfoot listening club constraints
― frogbs, Friday, 5 July 2019 04:10 (six months ago) link
You know how to live, frogbs.
― Una Palooka Dronka (hardcore dilettante), Friday, 5 July 2019 20:08 (six months ago) link
You know how to live, frogbs.― Una Palooka Dronka (hardcore dilettante), Friday, July 5, 2019 4:08 PM (two hours ago) bookmarkflaglink
― Una Palooka Dronka (hardcore dilettante), Friday, July 5, 2019 4:08 PM (two hours ago) bookmarkflaglink
I need to get my goddamn priorities straight myself. I've been following along, but am sorely behind on my listening. Need to spend a bit of time with 80s Gord. I've heard songs here and there, but I haven't ever actively listened beyond Endless Wire, which as has been suggested seems probably typical. But, surely a/c-era Gord has some hidden gems! Anyways, huge props to Will for keeping this going.
― softspool, Friday, 5 July 2019 22:26 (six months ago) link
first thought about this album is the production on the faster paced songs is way too busy. I've heard the title track live and I like it much better than the album version. I can't seem to track down a live version of it anywhere online though, does anyone know of one?
― Will (kruezer2), Monday, 8 July 2019 14:13 (six months ago) link
okay this is where I'm truly hearing them for the first time. I don't think I've heard any of his post-Endless Wire albums, outside of Harmony - felt like I owed it to him to buy that one, since he quite literally cheated death to make it. Anyway...I'm actually digging this one, it's short and mostly sweet, and I actually kinda like the cluttered arrangements - by this time his band was incredibly tight, I don't care how many guitars they layer on. kinda amusing that there's another dead sailor song, "Ghosts of Cape Horn"...actually feels a bit like a Gord parody track, though I still think it's pretty good.
actually this strikes me as a better album than Endless Wire...feels like there are more ideas here (is "Make Way For the Lady" the first time he's ever tried jazz?) and it's less dreary. the title track is really nice, it's just one long chorus. I wish more people would write songs like that. I'd imagine the cover of "Auctioneer" was not so well received but I like it. It's like the "Scatman" of the 50's
― frogbs, Monday, 8 July 2019 18:39 (six months ago) link
Shadows - 1982
"14 Karat Gold" – 3:56"In My Fashion" – 3:05"Shadows" – 3:02"Blackberry Wine" – 3:05"Heaven Help the Devil" – 3:14"Thank You For the Promises" – 2:53"Baby Step Back" – 3:59"All I'm After" – 3:23"Triangle" – 4:10"I'll Do Anything" – 3:25"She's Not the Same" – 3:11
Been off on holiday, sorry for dropping this in the interim!
I've not had the chance to give this one a listen yet. But In My Fashion is my favourite 80s Gord song that I can think of off the top of my head. Very interested in giving this a re-listen.
― Will (kruezer2), Thursday, 25 July 2019 18:47 (six months ago) link
oh yes in my fashion is very good, never heard it
― big city slam (Spottie), Thursday, 25 July 2019 23:16 (six months ago) link
blackberry wine is some proper dad rock
― big city slam (Spottie), Thursday, 25 July 2019 23:23 (six months ago) link
Baby Step Back is kind of Sundown Pt 2.
― Ρεμπετολογια, Monday, 29 July 2019 19:03 (five months ago) link
yeah "In My Fashion" is really nice
"Blackberry Wine"....lmao. I'm glad these 80s albums are at least entertaining.
overall I thought this was okay. maybe I should give it another listen or two but by the time I get to "Triangle" it's like...yeah, it's nice, but we've heard this a dozen times before. his voice is still in good shape though.
can't help but notice the cover resembles a boomer trying to snap a selfie for Facebook
― frogbs, Tuesday, 30 July 2019 15:30 (five months ago) link
Yeah I get that same feeling from this one, starts off with my attention, and I like the production better than Dream Street Rose but I lose the plot after Baby Step Back.
Specifically I like 14 Karat Gold as well as In My Fashion and the title track is solid, but I start losing the plot after that. Blackberry Wine is some intense dadrock, Heaven help the Devil floats by.
Thank You for the Promises sounds a lot like another of his songs but I can't think of what one. Is it a re-do from an earlier album?
Ρεμπετολογια you are totally right about Baby Step Back. To the point it feels like Gord was listening to his old albums and just re-arranging them and writing new lyrics.
Like you are saying frogbs, his voice and lyrics (mostly) are still good but his music isn't changing at all at this point.
― Will (kruezer2), Wednesday, 31 July 2019 13:57 (five months ago) link
Forgot to mention my favourite part later in this album, on All I'm After when he sings "I think I got it made" and holds the note for a few beats. That felt unique in his catalog.
― Will (kruezer2), Wednesday, 31 July 2019 14:03 (five months ago) link
Salute - 1983
"Salute (A Lot More Livin' to Do)" - 4:24"Gotta Get Away" - 2:54"Whispers of the North" - 3:20"Someone to Believe In" - 3:32"Romance" - 3:31"Knotty Pine" - 4:00"Biscuit City" - 2:55"Without You" - 3:07"Tattoo" - 4:28"Broken Dreams" - 4:05
A day late, but here we are. Now I really do not know this album at all. I'm fairly certain I know at least a song or two off the rest of his albums but I don't recognize the names of any of these ones.
― Will (kruezer2), Friday, 2 August 2019 13:27 (five months ago) link
always avoided this for the cover shot alone. you can practically hear Gord's thoughts, "I'm not proud of this album, please don't take my picture for the cover"
― frogbs, Friday, 2 August 2019 13:29 (five months ago) link
Haha, Gord's all "I will NOT fucking salute" on this cover
― softspool, Friday, 2 August 2019 16:43 (five months ago) link
oh man, Gord's voice aged pretty rapidly. he'd be around 45 when this came out but he sounds about 65. he can still sing but a lot of that richness is gone and there's sort of a whine on his upper register. weird because he sounded alright on Shadows, which only came out a year before.
anyway, this is sorta how I expected all his 80's albums to sound; I figured sooner or later he'd get a producer that 'punched up' the rhythms and blended the steel guitar & synths into a fine paste. It's a bit Huey Lewis sometimes ("Someone to Believe In") and the poppin' bass on "Gotta Get Away" is kinda hilarious. there's a couple of real pretty songs on this one though - I thought "Knotty Pine" and "Tattoo" were pretty good. "Tattoo" actually sorta works with his ravaged voice.
the album might've worked better with the sides flipped - the first side falls into pretty much every trap a 70s folk artist could fall into, but the songs on Side 2 ain't bad. incredibly corny sometimes but it's still an okay listen. I don't think I wanna hear it again, but still.
― frogbs, Friday, 2 August 2019 18:07 (five months ago) link
yeah, this is a strange album. I don't hate the title track, but just why you know. It's my favourite on side one though, I can see why it was the single.
Gotta Get Away sounds more like his normal music, but its worse for it, terrible.
Whispers of the North & Romance are just real struggles lyrically.
Agreed on Knotty Pine, really pretty little song. The synth line that shows up at the end of the lyrics is refreshingly understated.
My favourite is Tattoo, these are the songs I want from Gord at this stage, resigned to his fate, looking back on life and making peace with it. Biscuit City works on this same wavelength.
Broken Dreams feels like Salute again, he started and ended the album with really similar songs. I wonder if that was intentional.
― Will (kruezer2), Saturday, 10 August 2019 01:47 (five months ago) link
East of Midnight - 1986
"Stay Loose" – 3:53"Morning Glory" – 3:24"East of Midnight" – 3:58"A Lesson in Love" – 4:05"Anything for Love" – 3:43 (Lightfoot, David Foster)"Let it Ride" – 3:40"Ecstasy Made Easy" – 4:05"You Just Gotta Be" – 3:34"A Passing Ship" – 3:55"I'll Tag Along" – 3:08
The only song I know off this one is the David Foster collab, which manages to pull off both sounding like a Gord song and a David Foster song at the same time. I'll give it credit for that but not much else. Curious to see how the rest of this album did after taking a 3rd year to release for the first time.
― Will (kruezer2), Saturday, 10 August 2019 01:52 (five months ago) link
this one starts well, then really loses the bit around the Foster song. Thank god for A Passing Ship & I'll Tag Along. I especially liked A Passing Ship on first listen.
― Will (kruezer2), Saturday, 10 August 2019 02:21 (five months ago) link
A few more thoughts.
Even in the 80s how did Anything for Love get on the country charts? bananas.
Saying it starts well is maybe a bit much, its starts okay, Stay Loose is a silly song, kinda like Salute. Its not one I need to re-listen to but I don't hate it.
Morning Glory is like a lesser GL song from the 70s. The title track is passable.
Then from A Lesson in Love to You Just Gotta Be is horrific, the worst run of songs in his career. Sappy lyrics, over produced, voice is lacking. Sounds nothing like anything I want from GL.
Then I really love A Passing Ship, it's like a Gord power ballad. It might challenge In My Fashion for 80s GL songs.
I'll tag along is much like Morning Glory, a lesser 70s song, still nice to hear.
― Will (kruezer2), Monday, 12 August 2019 18:51 (five months ago) link
The country charts were bananas in the mid-80s. 51 different songs made it to #1 on the Billboard country chart in 1986 alone, a lot of them even more bland and MOR than Anything For Love (which only got to #71 anyway). Gord's biggest country hit was Sundown which made it to #13 in the summer of "74. His biggest hit as a writer was Marty Robbins's "Ribbon of Darkness", #1 in June 1965.
― Ρεμπετολογια, Monday, 12 August 2019 19:15 (five months ago) link
okay I think I will have to redownload this album since the Foster collab in fact appears to be "Nothing You Can Do About It" by the Manhattan Transfer. was really confused for a sec there.
but, judging by the other 9 songs...I think kreuzer is basically right, the middle section of this album is garbage. kinda reminds me of those late ELP albums where they were writing really bland adult contemporary ballads that wouldn't have worked even if his voice wasn't shot. it sounds like he's channeling Chris De Burgh on half of these tunes. I almost want to make vaporwave out of it.
"A Passing Ship" sorta falls into that too but I agree there's a much better actual tune there. idk if I really wanna hear it again.
"Morning Glory" was kinda nice
― frogbs, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 18:12 (five months ago) link
Back on our usual Thursday schedule...
Waiting For You - 1993
"Restless" – 3:36"Ring Them Bells" – 2:56 (Bob Dylan)"Fading Away" – 3:10"Only Love Would Know" – 4:18"Welcome to Try" – 4:03"I'll Prove My Love" – 3:10"Waiting for You" – 3:35"Wild Strawberries" – 4:17"I'd Rather Press On" – 3:43"Drink Yer Glasses Empty" – 3:16
Curious to see what happens on this album vs. his 80s ones. Haynes & Clements are back on bass & lead after not doing East of Midnight. Also the credits list is stripped back down to his basic core group. Feels like its going to be a back to basics sort of album.
― Will (kruezer2), Wednesday, 14 August 2019 16:20 (five months ago) link
not sure im gonna be able to go on the rest of this ride with gordo. last couple albums doing absolutely nothing for me.
― big city slam (Spottie), Wednesday, 14 August 2019 16:35 (five months ago) link
yeah I think Dream Street Rose was pretty good, better than Endless Wire but not as good as any of the ones before that
Shadows and Salute had moments but Gordo was just not made for the 80s
will be listening to this one in a bit (though uh...it is Wednesday isn't it?) - "Restless" was on the Greatest Hits disc I had and I remember liking that a lot, felt like the sort of tune that suited an aging Gordon Lightfoot well. kinda got me choked up, maybe just because it was the last song on the disc which implied it was basically the end of his career
― frogbs, Wednesday, 14 August 2019 16:54 (five months ago) link
haha, it sure is wednesday, i'm off friday and moved all my normal meetings earlier in the week by a day and i've apparently fallen into it completely.
yeah fair enough Spottie. I think as Gord's losing his voice it really makes these albums a slog. He's lost a lot of other skills sure but I really miss the voice most of all.
we're almost at the end (just two more after this) so I'll finish off with whoever wants to join for the last two just to be completest.
― Will (kruezer2), Wednesday, 14 August 2019 17:41 (five months ago) link
only two more ok i think i can do it, at least skip through the albums anyway. its been good tho ive discovered a ton.
― big city slam (Spottie), Wednesday, 14 August 2019 17:45 (five months ago) link
this one is definitely better than the last 3, mostly because it avoids all the 80s trappings and gets back to folk songs. the tempos still feel too quick for this sort of music ("I'd Rather Press On") but with the richness in his voice gone I guess it doesn't really matter. the title track and "Restless" are nice.
― frogbs, Wednesday, 14 August 2019 18:06 (five months ago) link
While I was listening to this one on spotify Daylight Katy came on after Drink Yer Glasses Empty and it didn't feel out of place. Now I like Daylight Katy well enough but I think that kinda shows the value of this albums. I agree with you frogbs on the title track and Restless. I like Drink Yer Glasses Empty most I think though.
His voice really struggles though, Ring Them Bells and Welcome to Try especially stood out for me in that regard, but the song writing is a huge step up from his 80s albums for sure. I listened to this one a few times over and didn't skip a song. I don't think that's happened since Endless Wire or Dream Street Rose. I didn't realize how much I missed his creative lyrics. Even on I'll Prove My Love, I don't cringe while listening like I did on A Lesson In Love for example.
The tasteful production is nice of course.
I think I'll come back to this one more.
― Will (kruezer2), Saturday, 24 August 2019 01:24 (five months ago) link
A Painter Passing Through
"Drifters" - 3:27"My Little Love" - 4:08"Ringneck Loon" - 4:14"I Used to Be a Country Singer" (Steve McEown) - 3:16"Boathouse" - 4:13"Much to My Surprise" - 3:42"A Painter Passing Through" - 3:55"On Yonge Street" - 4:27"Red Velvet" (Ian Tyson) - 2:37"Uncle Toad Said" - 3:29
Second last one. I only Drifters off this one.
― Will (kruezer2), Saturday, 24 August 2019 04:35 (five months ago) link
The lack of response here is telling. I thought this was known as his worst album, though RYM apparently thinks East of Midnight is worse. At this point his voice is just gone and I don't really feel anything from any of the tunes. He sounds okay when he doesn't have to sustain any notes but when he does you can really hear the age in his voice. There's clearly a lyrical theme of being past your prime on this album so I guess Gord was feeling it himself. I mean "Drifters" and "Painter" both come off as being auto-biographical and I feel like "Uncle Toad Said" is sorta poking fun of himself. Very much of a "life is winding down and I made lots of mistakes but have no regrets" sorta vibe here. I do like a few tunes here, particularly the Tyson cover and the title track, which I imagine might have sounded pretty nice if he wrote it 25 years before. The second half of this album is pleasant, there's more good stuff there than all of East of Midnight but that's not exactly a ringing endorsement.
― frogbs, Monday, 26 August 2019 18:43 (five months ago) link
Yeah this one is not doing much for me at all. Definitely a step down from Waiting For You. I think I'd take East of Midnight over it, just for A Passing Ship. This album has less horrible songs than East of Midnight though.
Ringneck Loon feels awkwardly delivered, Boathouse is really just boring.
I wouldn't turn off Much To My Suprise if it came on Adult Contemporary radio, probably the same for the title track. I kinda like On Yonge Street, but I'm sure thats just nostalgia from my own time living there. That's about all I can muster for this one.
― Will (kruezer2), Tuesday, 27 August 2019 14:50 (four months ago) link
Harmony - 2004
1."Harmony" – 3:112."River of Light" – 3:483."Flyin' Blind" – 2:494."No Mistake About It" – 4:035."End of All Time" – 3:416."Shellfish" – 3:457."The No Hotel" – 5:548."Inspiration Lady" – 3:089."Clouds of Loneliness" – 2:5210."Couchiching" – 3:2011."Sometimes I Wish" – 3:37
― Will (kruezer2), Friday, 30 August 2019 16:43 (four months ago) link
looks like its just you and me now, bud.
Unlike all the other post-Endless Wire albums, I actually do know this one. It came out when I was really getting into Gord (though a greatest hits) and I figured I'd buy a copy out of respect (admittedly, I was pretty stunned when he actually started singing). As you might know he had some pretty severe heart issues around this time and there were rumors swirling around that he was on death's door. If I recall correctly a lot of the album was written & arranged from the hospital. As a result the critics were a lot easier on this one, although I think it really is one of his better post-70s efforts. The melodies here are actually pretty memorable, in fact I still remember how a lot of these go. The instrumentation is super mild but it sounds pretty good as a whole. I like the keyboard line on "No Hotel" a lot.
Granted his voice sorta ruins this thing, he sounds a lot like the various grandpa characters on the cartoons I used to watch as a kid. But a year removed from surgery you get a pass for that, especially if you saw the photos of him from that time, he looked like he weighed about 80 pounds (though to be fair I believe all the vocals outside of the live tracks were taken from pre-surgery demos). It's kind of hard to divorce the album from its context, particularly when it's got lines like "I won't be looking up old friends ever again" on it. A lot of these songs have a "ready to die" them to them which gives tunes like "End of All Time" & "Shellfish" a real emotional punch.
I'm surprised that this turned out to be his last album (unless he suddenly decides to make another one at the age of 80). Maybe they weren't selling or he just got sick of writing songs but he seems to be on more of a creative streak here than he was over, I dunno, the last two decades.
― frogbs, Friday, 30 August 2019 19:25 (four months ago) link
TS: Couchiching - Gordon Lightfoot vs. Ch Ching - Lady Sovereign
― Ρεμπετολογια, Friday, 30 August 2019 23:55 (four months ago) link
This one was a nice listen, nice to wrap up on something that's not terrible. I especially liked Inspiration Lady thru Sometimes I Wish.
His voice is really bad at this point, sounds like what I remember from him in concert, the drop from A Painter Passing Through is really noticeable but I agree that this is a stronger collection of songs. I think if I consider Salute the beginning of his real tailspin, this one and Waiting For You are his best two overall albums of his final 5. It is really an emotional listen though, I wonder sometimes if he doesn't write another album 'cause he already wrote what he thought was his last album and assumed he wasn't gonna make it out the other side of his illness at the time. Couchiching/Sometimes I Wish feel a lot like a final here's to my hometown and here's my final take on life sort of songs.
Thanks for joining frogbs, and everyone else, found or rediscovered a boatload (heh) of great songs. I'll post a bunch of my favourites and some comments on them in time, just trying to hit another writing deadline so trying not to split my focus right now. Would be cool to here the same from anyone else that wants to post their's.
― Will (kruezer2), Thursday, 5 September 2019 13:59 (four months ago) link
Amazon has Gordon Lightfoot The Complete Albums 1970-1998 for download for $7.99 -- "Sit Down Young Stranger" through "A Painter Passing Through"
― jana m, Sunday, 17 November 2019 13:22 (two months ago) link
Robbie Fulks takes on Gordon Lightfoot's catalog and is crushingly OTM .
― Ρεμπετολογια, Saturday, 25 January 2020 23:08 (yesterday) link
that piece is *fantastic*, thanks for sharing
― bold caucasian eroticism (Simon H.), Sunday, 26 January 2020 00:28 (ten hours ago) link
Robbie Fulks may be my favourite music writer. His tour diaries and essays on his website are just such a pleasure to read and explain the vocation of being a songwriter/performer so succinctly .
― Ρεμπετολογια, Sunday, 26 January 2020 03:18 (seven hours ago) link
Wow, I will read everything that guy writes, that was fantastic
― Montegays and Capulez (flamboyant goon tie included), Sunday, 26 January 2020 03:24 (seven hours ago) link
yeah, that was so good I actually want to check out *his* music!
― bold caucasian eroticism (Simon H.), Sunday, 26 January 2020 04:43 (six hours ago) link