I'm Not Sayin' it's the Gordon Lightfoot listening thread (but it is)...new album every Thursday

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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.

To start...

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 (two months ago) Permalink

fuck yeah

Simon H., Thursday, 28 March 2019 13:54 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

love this cover version:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHbN8Qd0XPo

Emperor Tonetta Ketchup (sleeve), Thursday, 28 March 2019 15:37 (two months ago) Permalink

"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 (two months ago) Permalink

^ 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 (two months ago) Permalink

Hellz yes.

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 (two months ago) Permalink

There's a documentary about him at Toronto's Hot Docs this year.

http://boxoffice.hotdocs.ca/websales/pages/info.aspx?evtinfo=89970~6052eab3-8904-4c72-8914-433e6b8b62f1&epguid=2157979d-886e-46a2-ace8-e46670981e8a&

clemenza, Friday, 29 March 2019 11:28 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

hell yes

ripersnifle, Saturday, 30 March 2019 19:04 (two months ago) Permalink

yeeeee-haw

frogbs, Sunday, 31 March 2019 03:24 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

Hell yes I've waited fifteen years for this thread.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Sunday, 31 March 2019 04:10 (two months ago) Permalink

I'm wondering if he might be the second-most-covered Canadian behind Young.

Simon H., Sunday, 31 March 2019 04:21 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

Internationally famous, not just Canadian famous, obv.

softspool, Sunday, 31 March 2019 05:13 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

This guy is probably my favourite songwriter tbh!

flamboyant goon tie included, Monday, 1 April 2019 15:33 (two months ago) Permalink

Ever since I got Tidal I play his stuff fairly regularly, wonderful morning music.

flamboyant goon tie included, Monday, 1 April 2019 15:35 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

^ yeah totally, CRT didn't need changing at all.

Will (kruezer2), Tuesday, 2 April 2019 14:19 (two months ago) Permalink

Also I like this Marty Robbins Ribbon of Darkness cover...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZifcpG5cl0

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 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

*its

flamboyant goon tie included, Tuesday, 2 April 2019 14:32 (two months ago) Permalink

Newman actually did some arrangements on Lightfoot albums, iirc?

Simon H., Tuesday, 2 April 2019 14:35 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP_WBSJaHSk

softspool, Thursday, 4 April 2019 23:43 (two months ago) Permalink

argh, Rick *White

softspool, Thursday, 4 April 2019 23:47 (two months ago) Permalink

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 run
When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun
Long before the white man and long before the wheel
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real

flamboyant goon tie included, Friday, 5 April 2019 01:13 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

^ 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 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

That "Rosanna" cover is great. The Sadies must have one hell of a Rolodex by now.

Simon H., Friday, 5 April 2019 16:54 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

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 (two months ago) Permalink

loved the first Bry Webb record, too. actually not a million miles from Gord.

Simon H., Friday, 5 April 2019 19:09 (two months ago) Permalink

pls no one link the Stars on 54 version

Simon H., Thursday, 2 May 2019 19:01 (one month ago) Permalink

but yeah obviously an incredible song

Simon H., Thursday, 2 May 2019 19:02 (one month ago) Permalink

I think this is my favorite Gordon Lightfoot album. Though I suppose in the coming months I will know for sure. "Approaching Lavender" and "Your Love's Return" have long been two of my favorite deep cuts

frogbs, Thursday, 2 May 2019 19:10 (one month ago) Permalink

yeah "Lavender" is a beaut

Simon H., Thursday, 2 May 2019 19:12 (one month ago) Permalink

yeah wow good call on "your love's return"

ciderpress, Thursday, 2 May 2019 19:15 (one month ago) Permalink

that string flourish in the chorus ("roses are waiting for dewdrops to fall") is one of my favorite moments in the whole catalogue. Maybe that's why I considered this my favorite...there's a few songs I don't really like that much, like "Cobwebs & Dust" and the "Bobby McGee" cover (maybe because I can't stop thinking about Janis Joplin)

on the other hand "Baby It's Alright" is pretty fun and "Saturday Clothes" kind of has a cheery Sesame Street vibe to it

frogbs, Thursday, 2 May 2019 20:59 (one month ago) Permalink

Summer Side Of Life - 1971

"10 Degrees and Getting Colder" – 2:43
"Miguel" – 4:12
"Go My Way" – 2:13
"Summer Side of Life" – 4:05
"Cotton Jenny" – 3:26
"Talking in Your Sleep" – 2:56
"Nous Vivons Ensemble" – 3:45
"Same Old Loverman" – 3:21
"Redwood Hill" – 2:48
"Love and Maple Syrup" – 3:13
"Cabaret" – 5:49

I didn't spend enough time with IYCRMM last week, partly because its one I've already listened to so many times and partly because of work getting in the way, but I agree about Approaching Lavender, I think it's my favourite. I like Poor Little Alison and Saturday Clothes as well, I agree Saturday Clothes has got a real innocence to it that is appealing. Gord manages to write really innocent songs, The Pony Man as well, yet also write the most worldly and knowing tunes and flip between them with an alarming ease.

I think the album starts slowly though, I am not a big fan of Minstrel Of The Dawn and I agree that the Bobby McGee cover, while competent, just can't stand up to Joplin's so whats the point.

On the flip side I haven't listened to Summer Side of Life in forever, I'll need to give this one a little time. The title track is fantastic and one of my favourites of all of his work. Cotton Jenny is a nice little song. I didn't realize Talking In Your Sleep made it to #64 on the charts in the US.

Will (kruezer2), Thursday, 9 May 2019 14:02 (one month ago) Permalink

I never liked the title track much...I don't think those big brassy band arrangements suit him well

I also haven't listened to this one in a long time. Between the bland cover, the fact that I always mix it up with Summertime Dream, and the lack of hits, I kinda forgot about it. But there are some deep cuts on here I like - "Nous Vivions Ensemble" (does Gord speak fluent French?) and "Love and Maple Syrup", which almost sounds like say, Flight of the Conchords doing a Gordon Lightfoot parody (I mean that in a good way, of course). In fact I think the whole second side of this is pretty great ("Same Old Loverman" could be Elvis Presley!). And "Cotton Jenny", of course.

frogbs, Thursday, 9 May 2019 18:04 (one month ago) Permalink

I've come to like this album a lot after listening to it a few times. Miguel is really beautiful and melancholic. Talking in Your Sleep is simple yet effective. That's a great point Frogbs about Same Old Loverman, I really have come to like it and it would fit right into Elvis' wheelhouse. I think Love & Maple Syrup has grown on me the most though, your right about how it could be a parody but it really works and feels very unique.

Some misses though, 10 Degrees and Getting Colder feels like paint by numbers Lightfoot. Go My Way just washes past me.

I think I agree about the second side of the album though, there are no duds at all.

Will (kruezer2), Monday, 13 May 2019 04:56 (one month ago) Permalink

Nancy Griffith’s cover of “10 Degrees & Getting Colder” is pretty great.

Una Palooka Dronka (hardcore dilettante), Monday, 13 May 2019 11:45 (one month ago) Permalink

i'll have to check that cover out.

also i don't think Gord speaks French. At least that's the implication I get from this old Macleans article https://archive.macleans.ca/article/1968/9/1/gordon-lightfoot

Will (kruezer2), Monday, 13 May 2019 13:24 (one month ago) Permalink

I feel bad about not keeping up with this at all. I've not spent much time with these albums front-to-back but there are amazing songs on all of them. I think the project just seemed daunting and it's more so now that I'm five albums late or so. Will do what I can.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Monday, 13 May 2019 13:40 (one month ago) Permalink

I'm Not Sayin' you gotta start from the beginning (but I am)

frogbs, Monday, 13 May 2019 13:42 (one month ago) Permalink

I started with The Way I Feel, which I enjoyed pretty well. I was reading while listening so wasn't focusing on lyrics, which I should come back to. I do like his voice and playing a lot. Obv, I knew "Song for a Winter's Night" and "Canadian Railroad Trilogy", which are both classic. The rest was all pleasant. "A Minor Ballad" felt a little proto-Nick Drake in a way. "Go-Go Round" stood out a bit too.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Tuesday, 14 May 2019 12:11 (one month ago) Permalink

I've never thought of A Minor Balland as Proto-Nick Drake but I can definitely hear it.

new week, new album

Don Quixote - 1972

Don Quixote" – 3:41
"Christian Island (Georgian Bay)" – 4:02
"Alberta Bound" – 3:07
"Looking at the Rain" – 3:40
"Ordinary Man" – 3:19
"Brave Mountaineers" – 3:36
"Ode to Big Blue" – 4:48
"Second Cup of Coffee" – 3:03
"Beautiful" – 3:23
"On Susan's Floor" (Shel Silverstein, Vince Matthews) – 2:58
"The Patriot's Dream" – 6:04

This album has my favourite lightfoot song, Christian Island, so I've listed to it a tonne compared to Summer Side Of Life, that said SSOL really grew on me this past week and I think I'd place it up with Did She Mention My Name? and If You Could Read My Mind. This one might fall in my estimation this week though. Christian Island and Second Cup of Coffee are both excellent, Beautiful is probably the biggest hit on the album and I like it, far more than Softly, which it feels like an update on.

Will (kruezer2), Thursday, 16 May 2019 17:42 (one month ago) Permalink

my folks live out in the Georgian Bay area and I've somehow never heard that song. will rectify.

Simon H., Thursday, 16 May 2019 18:35 (one month ago) Permalink

Definitely rectify that!

Also, I totally forgot about Alberta Bound, that might be the most famous off this album.

Will (kruezer2), Thursday, 16 May 2019 22:04 (one month ago) Permalink

this is a really solid album - more traditionally folky, despite some strings and harmonies it's mostly stripped back. reminds me of Back Here on Earth, though the songwriting is better. though I dislike the "Skyline of Toronto/is something you'll hold on to" rhyme, it's like he wrote it down but didn't think about how it would actually sound

frogbs, Friday, 17 May 2019 16:34 (one month ago) Permalink

also, no one holds onto TO's skyline.

Simon H., Friday, 17 May 2019 16:38 (one month ago) Permalink

That's not how you pronounce Toronto anyways

Ρεμπετολογια, Saturday, 18 May 2019 04:00 (one month ago) Permalink

One of his best albums for sure. Great version of Shel Silverstein's "On Susan's Floor" - I wonder if he ever participated in one of those late night Nashville guitar pulls? I used to play in a cover band that would do "Beautiful", perfect mush for weddings and similar occasions, all those plaintive maj7s.

Ρεμπετολογια, Saturday, 18 May 2019 04:09 (one month ago) Permalink

Yeah, I love the melody and vibe of Alberta bound, but the whole verse about Toronto is clunky, including the bit about the "written guarantee to make you smile". Ugh. Maybe weirdly, it almost offends me that Gord, who spent a whole lotta time in Toronto, gets all hackneyed and big-city-amirite where he could have done a more nuanced job. Otherwise, I have relatives in Alberta, and they love this song, plus it sounds like a folk song that's always existed. So I love it anyways.

softspool, Saturday, 18 May 2019 04:15 (one month ago) Permalink

I tried to view this album more critically, but I still love it. Certainly one of his best I think.

Aside from Christian Island & Second Cup Of Coffee, I really like Ordinary Man, for a i'm on the road and missing the girl i left behind song it feels very applicable to people not living that life.

Brave Mountaineers reminds me of my childhood so i find it very affecting, especially this verse...

"Born in the country and I like that country way
of the uncles and the cousins and the
card games they would play
While the young ones slept overhead
Beneath the quilts that mother made,
when all the prayers were said"

I feel like Ode to Big Blue should be really corny when I think of it but the song itself really works. Again a nautical song just works for him somehow.

Alberta Bound is not my favourite but I agree that it sounds like its always existed. I agree about the Toronto verse though I do love the 'its snowing in the city and the streets are brown and gritty' line though even though it falls apart after that, I do not miss snow in the city.

Will (kruezer2), Monday, 20 May 2019 04:03 (one month ago) Permalink

Old Dan's Records - 1972

"Farewell to Annabel" – 2:59
"That Same Old Obsession" – 3:46
"Old Dan's Records" – 3:05
"Lazy Mornin'" – 3:43
"You Are What I Am" – 2:37
"Can't Depend on Love" – 3:12
"My Pony Won't Go" – 3:50
"It's Worth Believin'" – 3:24
"Mother of a Miner's Child" – 3:18
"Hi'way Songs" – 3:37

I must admit I don't know this album well at all, its probably the one I've listened to the least of all of his records up to and including Shadows so I am really interested to give it few listens this week. Considering it comes between two albums like Don Quixote and Sundown its strange how little time I've given it.

Will (kruezer2), Thursday, 23 May 2019 19:21 (one month ago) Permalink

that's understandable, it's his only 'classic' period LP with no real single on it, and I don't even remember ever seeing it in the thrift store. looking forward to giving this a spin though because I remember it being quite good..."Can't Depend on Love" was a great one wasn't it? plus the pun in the title track is so corny I can't help but love it a little

frogbs, Thursday, 23 May 2019 19:28 (one month ago) Permalink

I can’t believe I’m so far behind on this thread. One album a week shouldn’t be too onerous.

Just spun SDYS/IYCRMM. It’s a fine recording — sonically a lot more hi-budget than anything from the UA years. I’ve never really connected with it, though. Songs, playing, and production are all high quality but it just leaves me a little cold. It’s pleasant all the way through and it’s understandable why it was a hit at the time.

The only real missteps IMO are the busy band arrangement on “Baby It’s Allright”, and “Bobby McGee”, which would be merely inessential except for Gord’s unbearable bungling of the “Salinas” verse.

Una Palooka Dronka (hardcore dilettante), Thursday, 23 May 2019 19:50 (one month ago) Permalink

does anyone else think "My Pony Won't Go" is about erectile dysfunction

frogbs, Thursday, 23 May 2019 22:08 (one month ago) Permalink

i'd never really thought about it but now i can't un-think it

Will (kruezer2), Friday, 24 May 2019 21:42 (one month ago) Permalink

This album doesn't do it for me as much as the last few.

It starts pretty strong with Farewell to Annabelle/That Same Old Obsession/Old Dan's Records (agreed the pun is excellent).

Then I find it really boring until It's Worth Believin' then it trails off. Hi'way songs is a decent closer but nothing special.

There are a pair couplets as bad as the Alberta Bound one for awkward rhymes. I can't think of them of the top of my head now but there are a couple moments I cringe while listening.

Will (kruezer2), Wednesday, 29 May 2019 14:25 (three weeks ago) Permalink

I think it's kinda the opposite, Side 2 is pretty strong and memorable, Side 1 sorta drags

Can't Depend on Love is one of his best tunes, happy to rediscover that one

frogbs, Wednesday, 29 May 2019 17:27 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Sundown - 1974

"Somewhere U.S.A." – 2:50
"High and Dry" – 2:12
"Seven Island Suite" – 6:00
"Circle of Steel" – 2:45
"Is There Anyone Home" – 3:15
"The Watchman's Gone" – 4:25
"Sundown" – 3:45
"Carefree Highway" – 3:45
"The List" – 3:00
"Too Late for Prayin'" – 4:15

A straight up classic this one of course.

I really love Circle of Steel, I'll write more later.

Will (kruezer2), Thursday, 30 May 2019 20:46 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Ooooh, it’s sundown time. I’m gonna have to soak in this one a bit.

softspool, Thursday, 30 May 2019 23:24 (three weeks ago) Permalink

First thing that struck me was I forgot how excellent Seven Island Suite is. The twinkling between the changes in the 'suites' is a great touch.

I've always loved this couplet...

It's time you tried living on the high side of the bay, you need a rest
Any woman or a man with a wish to fade away could be so blessed

Will (kruezer2), Friday, 31 May 2019 13:13 (three weeks ago) Permalink

"The Watchman's Gone" is my pick for my favorite Lightfoot track that wasn't a single. Favorite lyric: "If I wait for the right moment/You can bet I'll climb aboard unseen/I've done it before/I know I can do it in my sleep"; kinda like "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" or "Edmund Fitzgerald", you can just picture it when he sings it like that.

Anyway, I think this is my favorite one so far. Every song on this one is great. I think it hits all his strong suits without feeling saturated. And the two singles are great. Classic cover shot, too. I was always amused that such a popular and successful artist would pick a shot that screamed "this is my only nice set of clothes"

frogbs, Friday, 31 May 2019 16:10 (three weeks ago) Permalink

ive been keeping up with the listening, not a ton to say. the last couple have been good but in a cherry-pick-a-few-tracks type of way. but.. this one is front to back great, and just enough variance in sound from song to song to separate it from earlier works/sounds. dont think i could ever get tired of the title track.

the production sounds pretty different on this, has a little more punch. lenny waronker still the producer tho. maybe the recording techniques changed for this one? love that synth in the background of seven island suite.

easy ball shooter (Spottie), Friday, 31 May 2019 21:00 (three weeks ago) Permalink

frogbs your whole post is otm. The Watchman's Gone is excellent. His delivery of I've done it before/I know I can do it in my sleep has always been a favourite.

I agree about the production too Spottie, Listening to these albums in succession makes me feel like this one is a culmination of the ideas they started trying on Summer Side of Life, but since that one failed commercially they backed off a little bit, made a couple hit records, then brought things back in for Sundown and its better than all of the others because it captures both sides.

Will (kruezer2), Monday, 3 June 2019 13:22 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Also, between the two singles I think I prefer Carefree Highway to Sundown, but its really hard to pick, both are top notch. Carefree Highway is unsurprisingly one of the better driving songs ever. But Sundown feels like you are being let in on a secret. Tough choice.

Circle of Steel is a favourite of mine, not only is it placed in and around Christmas it feels like a Chritmas Carol in parts. Especially the first verse. Something about the simplicity of the delivery, feels like anyone could pickup and sing it at someone's door. He has a great skill for writing songs that are both very specific in content but generic enough to feel relatable. I don't feel like a Canadian artist had that skill again (at least not used consistently) until the Rheostatics came along.

Will (kruezer2), Monday, 3 June 2019 13:36 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Just a couple more notes about Sundown... I love the triangle sound way down in the mix in CoS. The List is a really underrated track. I think the only song on Sundown that doesn't really do it for me is Too Late For Prayin' but I get why he wanted to end on a quieter note. If you switched Too Late For Prayin with It's Worth Believin' I think Sundown is pretty much perfect but it gets close enough anyway.

On to the next!

Cold On The Shoulder - 1975

"Bend in the Water" – 2:59
"Rainy Day People" – 2:48
"Cold on the Shoulder" – 3:00
"The Soul is the Rock" – 5:49
"Bells of the Evening" – 3:56
"Rainbow Trout" – 2:51
"A Tree too Weak to Stand" – 3:22
"All the Lovely Ladies" – 3:35
"Fine as Fine Can Be" – 2:58
"Cherokee Bend" – 5:02
"Now and Then" – 3:09
"Slide on Over" – 3:43

I feel like the change from Side 1 to Side 2 on this album marks a change in Lightfoot's music into the Adult Contemporary world.

Will (kruezer2), Thursday, 6 June 2019 14:45 (two weeks ago) Permalink

This was the first one I got on LP. Really loved "Bend in the Water" but that song skipped a lot. I guess this one is a bit like Old Dan's Records - no real hits (I guess "Rainy Day People" was one?) and it's not quite as good as his better-known albums but it's still pretty good, despite having some odd stuff on it ("Bells of the Evening" - the only Gord song with no guitar?). It's maybe his most outdoorsy album, like half the songs come back to fishing somehow. Always loved "The Soul is the Rock", one of the most 'epic' tracks he did (outside of the obvious ones), and probably the best tune here.

Side 2 is sort of a bore to me...the music is pretty as always but I don't find many of these songs memorable ("Fine as Fine Can Be" maybe but it's sappy as hell). "All the Lovely Ladies" has that "wish I could know them one by one" line which kinda skeeves me out. "Now and Then" is a great tune though.

frogbs, Friday, 7 June 2019 14:57 (two weeks ago) Permalink

https://vimeo.com/228122562

Porky Balboa (D2), Friday, 7 June 2019 17:51 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Believe it or not, I'm new here. I'm sorry to double post, my link did not embed before. I too really love Gordon Lightfoot and am enjoying this thread.

<iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/228122562"; width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; fullscreen" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Porky Balboa (D2), Friday, 7 June 2019 17:59 (two weeks ago) Permalink

What gives

frogbs, Saturday, 15 June 2019 16:50 (one week ago) Permalink

hey guys, apologies on missing this week, work and live have been nuts. We can keep enjoying Cold on the Shoulder until Thursday of this week and I'll move us on then!

Will (kruezer2), Monday, 17 June 2019 14:41 (one week ago) Permalink

life*

Will (kruezer2), Monday, 17 June 2019 14:42 (one week ago) Permalink

I'm pretty much in agreement with you on this one frogbs. The first side towers over the second. Bend in the water is a great opener. Rainy Day People is one I've liked less and less over the years. Still a good song but he's done better similar songs I think. The title track's alomst clip-clop rhythm is a nice touch, feels like the songs being sung on horseback during a cattle drive. The Soul Is a Rock is really great, I always took the song to be about Newfoundland broadly, but I'm not sure exactly what to make of it upon re-listening.

Will (kruezer2), Wednesday, 19 June 2019 15:09 (five days ago) Permalink

...and we're back!

Summertime Dream - 1976

"Race Among the Ruins" – 3:21
"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" – 6:32
"I'm Not Supposed to Care" – 3:31
"I'd Do It Again" – 3:14
"Never Too Close" – 3:04
"Protocol" – 4:02
"The House You Live In" – 2:55
"Summertime Dream" – 2:30
"Spanish Moss" – 3:51
"Too Many Clues in This Room" – 4:49

One song here obviously towers over the rest, but I've always kinda liked I'm Not Supposed to Care. Race Among the Ruins & the Title Track are the two other big ones. I'm interested to give this one a re-listen.

Will (kruezer2), Thursday, 20 June 2019 13:13 (four days ago) Permalink

this is definitely the one i've listened to most, it's good front to back imo. don't think the wreck even towers over it.

ciderpress, Thursday, 20 June 2019 13:43 (four days ago) Permalink

'protocol' is wonderfully haunting

ciderpress, Thursday, 20 June 2019 13:48 (four days ago) Permalink

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, 20 June 2019 18:22 (four days ago) Permalink

"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 (four days ago) Permalink


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