"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Concert - Gordon Lightfoot


This is the last entry in this summer's Sunday Concert series.

Gordon Lightfoot (born November 17, 1938) is a Canadian singer-songwriter who achieved international success in folk, folk-rock, and country music, and has been credited for helping define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s. He has been referred to as Canada's greatest songwriter.

A personal favorite of mine, Lightfoot's music never quite fit in the modern world.  Lightfoot is more of a Strolling Troubadour, a wandering minstrel rather than a top 40 recording artist.  He sang songs of ships on the high seas, love on snowy winter nights or the building of railroads through the wild Canadian wilderness.  Not the typical top 40 radio crap that masquerades as popular music.

I have always enjoyed the lyrics to most of Lightfoot's songs as pure poetry.  In fact, his song lyrics have been published as books of poetry.

Lightfoot's songs, including "For Lovin' Me", "Early Morning Rain", "Steel Rail Blues", "Ribbon of Darkness"—a number one hit on the U.S. country charts with Marty Robbins' cover in 1965.

Lightfoot's recordings made an impact on the international music charts with songs such as "If You Could Read My Mind" (1970) (Number 5 on the US charts), "Sundown" (1974), "Carefree Highway" (1974), "Rainy Day People" (1975), all reaching number 1, and "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" (1976) (reaching number 2).

In US record sales Lightfoot earned seven gold records and three platinum and multi-platinum records.  The single "Sundown" earned a earned a gold record with sales of over 1,000,000 copies.

If You Could Read My Mind  -  Live on the BBC
A #5 hit in 1970 from the album Sit Down Young Stranger.

Baby Step Back  -  (Early MTV Video)
A #17 AC hit in 1981 from the album Shadows.

A #1 hit in 1973 from the album of the same name.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
A #2 hit in 1976 from the album Summertime Dream.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they called "Gitche Gumee."
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
when the skies of November turn gloomy.
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty,
that good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
when the "Gales of November" came early.

Earning a gold record, Endless Wire produced hit singles in
the U.S. and Canada.

Canadian Railroad Trilogy
From the Album - The Way I Feel. 1967

Canadian Railroad Trilogy
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

Whispers of the North
From the 1983 album Salute.

Whispers of the North
Whispers of the wind
I will feel it sting
I will see it rise and fall
I will hear it sing
The sound is like a song to me
It takes away the pain
The river is the melody
And sky is the refrain

And we can ride away
We can glide all day
And we can fly away

In My Fashion  -  (Early MTV Video)
From the 1981 album Shadows.

Old Dan's Records   (Live in Chicago - 1979)
From the 1972 album Old Dan's Records.

Hi'way Songs
From the 1972 album Old Dan's Records.

When I walk the hills so high a round the town where I was born
New York seems so far away though I was there just yesterday

I have played on my guitar in coffeehouses, halls and bars
Everyone that I call friend knows they will not be forgot

Trains and planes and rented cars, singers, saints, and other stars
I suspect them everyone, they'll never change it's too much fun

Just for now I'd like to rest in the shade of a maple tree
To the blue Canadian sky

I'll  say a prayer for the world out there 

When I stand on my own sod it feels so good to be home, by God
The winter wind has turned my head but I always came up warm somehow

Bottles, beads, and cigarettes and lovers that I ain't found yet
Picking with a friend til dawn, singing all those hi'way songs

Just for now I'd like to rest in the shade of a maple tree
To the blue Canadian sky I'll say a prayer for the world out there

When I walk the hills so high around the town where I was born
New York seems so far away though I was there just yesterday

I would travel all my life if loneliness was not the price
Heading north across that line's the only time I'm flying

Sundown was a #1 hit Gold record single and Gold album in the U.S. and Canada and reached #13 on the country music chart.

Cover Songs

Lightfoot's songs have been recorded by some of the world's most renowned recording artists, including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr., The Kingston Trio, Marty Robbins, George Hamilton IV, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Viola Wills, Richie Havens, The Dandy Warhols, Harry Belafonte, Tony Rice, Sandy Denny, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, Scott Walker, Sarah McLachlan, John Mellencamp, Toby Keith, Peter, Paul and Mary, Glen Campbell, Anne Murray, The Irish Rovers and Olivia Newton-John.

Toby Keith does a cover of Lightfoot's "Sundown"

Elvis does a cover of Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain"

Sarah McLachlan does a cover of Lightfoot's "Song for a Winter's Night"

Gordon's first hit in the U.S. reaching gold record status. 

Earning a Platinum Record, the album Summertime Dream produced
hit singles in the US and Canada.

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