National Treasure #43: Gordon Lightfoot

I remember some otherwise forgettable American critic referring to Lightfoot as some guy who sang melancholy songs for no apparent reason.

There’s some truth to that, I guess – and maybe for all folk singers.  But I remember Lightfoot from my teenage years–I saw him in concert once in Edmonton, in 1970 or so–and so I’ve had an appreciation for his music that’s lasted beyond that period when I actually listened to him.

His Canadian Railroad Trilogy is a work of historical art, but my favourites are his love songs.

If You Could Read My Mind

That’s What You Get for Loving Me

Ribbon of Darkness

That’s What You Get for Loving Me and Did She Mention My Name (apparently these are an indivisible set – all the YouTube videos I found included both of them)

As of June 2106 he was still touring internationally.  At 77.

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Lightfoot was the one singer I listened to during my classical snob stage. He perfectly bridged the genuine folk music I heard and learned in childhood with the folk revival and contemporary folk imitators I would come to appreciate a few years later. He was Canada’s troubadour, unpretentious yet unrivaled. “Song for a Winter’s Night” deserves another spin. “Black Day in July” should be as iconic for the Americans as “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” but it is easier to question Acts of God than acts of humanity.

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Laurna – He was sort of an earlier Stan Rogers, as you say – singing to us about us. As for your closing remark – yes, and unreasonably so. After all, we have no control over God, whereas a little introspection (personal or societal) would do us all some good.

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