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-   -   Favorite Lightfoot Song & Why? II (http://www.corfid.com/vbb//showthread.php?t=13491)

BigFitz 03-31-2000 12:47 PM

Theresa - I'm glad to hear you agree about the "Watchman"!

I recently heard a classic and was reminded again of why I love Gord's music so. That song is the beautiful picture painted in words and music called, "Song For a Winter's Night". His work is so prolific, that it's actually possible to forget about great songs like this, and then when you stumble upon them again, you feel the excitement of discovery all over again. This song really showcases his ability to make the listener feel as though they are really there. His descriptions of every detail - the light, the fire, the weather - even the level in his glass - really makes you understand his point. Actually, surprisingly enough, I heard this song was written in a hotel room during a rainstorm in Cleveland!

Another long time favorite of mine is surely the lesser known "On Susan's Floor". The warmth his voice conveys when he tells this wonderful musical story is touching. Susan must have been a fantastic person. I find that his music inspires that same comfortable and welcoming feeling he describes her home as providing.

"In the mornin' I'd go on
Buyin kingdoms with my songs
Knowin' I'd be back in just awhile"

Steve 04-13-2000 02:36 PM

Now I hate to be a wet blanket, but "On Susan's Floor" was one of those rarities - GL singing someone else's song - in this case the late, indeed great Shel Silverstein. That Don Quixote album is perhaps the best thing he's ever done, though as has been pointed out it was part of an incredible run in the early to mid 70s. "Don Quixote" is likely my favorite song, but there are loads of other heavy contenders - "Miguel," "Go My Way" - oh if I get started I could go for days...

Simone 04-14-2000 07:14 AM

Whoa! "On Susan's Floor" not a Lightfoot song? This comes as a shock, as that is one of my favorites, and it really seemed like a Gord song to me .

"The Watchman's Gone" is another favorite. (Trying to pick just one is like trying to eat one potato chip.) There have been a few occasions when I found myself driving on a wide open road with the sun shining and that song comes on my cassette player, and it practically lifts me and the entire car up into the ether. I confess I don't know what the song is really about, maybe someone can tell me, but the line, "It feels so good knowing the watchman's gone," has spoken to me when I was having a rare moment of delicious freedom amid a hectic schedule. I'm also fond of the lines,

"There's a train down at the station
come to carry my bones away"


"If you find me feeding daisies
please turn my face up to the sky"

These seem to be about death but somehow in a good-natured way (forgive me if I'm getting this wrong) and they carry such powerful images.

steve 04-14-2000 09:26 AM

On Susan's Floor describes a woman who actually took in many young struggling folk and country singers. GL told the story at a concert in Buffalo in the mid 70's

fezo 04-14-2000 10:25 AM

Now I'm the first Steve that posted about "On Susan's Floor," but not the second. Obviously Gordon has many fans named Steve.

Oh, I've always thought that "The Watchman's Out" is one of his most under appreciated song. Sundown may be that rarity of rarities of a performer's best work also being his most popular.

Let's see - other really underappreciated songs... "Long Way Back Home" from "Back Here on Earth," "Black Day in July," probably because it's considred dated, but I played it one night during the Ridney King riots and folks found it quite up to date), "Ordinary Man" from Don Quixote....and on it goes....

"Oh say can you see
My best friend is me
I'm a friend I can use"

"It's that lonesome, restless feeling
That you feel unfer the gun
And it leads me to the highway
But it keeps my body warm."


Bob from Westphalia, Mich 04-14-2000 01:31 PM

Without a doubt, my favorite is The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald. Although no one will ever truely know the thoughts of Captain Ernest McSorley and his crew of 28 brave men, or even if they knew what hit them till they found themselves some 500 feet below the surface of Lake Superior, Gordon tells, what I believe to be, a very realistic tale of what may have happened on November 10th, 1975.

The closest ship to the Fitzgerald, on that fateful night, was the Arthur M. Anderson with Captain Bernie Cooper at the wheel. The last words heard by Cooper, from the Fitzgerald were "We're holding our own". Then there was silence. What exactly caused the Fitzgerald to go under has been greatly scrutinized, and still is to this day. With literally thousands and thousands of sunken ships laying on the bottom of the Great Lakes.....if it weren't for Gordon Lightfoot, would the sinking of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald be as popular as it is.....I think not. God Bless you Captain McSorley and crew, and God Bless all who've lost their lives on the Lakes.

The house you live in will never fall down, if you pity the stranger that stands at your door.....GL

Simone 04-14-2000 02:14 PM


"It's that lonesome, restless feeling
That you feel under the gun
And it leads me to the highway
But it keeps my body warm."

Yeah, I agree Fezo. "Ordinary Man" ranks right up there as a great GL song. I've always particularly loved those lines you included from the song about the "lonesome, restless feeling" and the highway. And I really enjoy the guitars in that song.....as I do in so many GL songs!

fezo 04-14-2000 02:25 PM

On the Edmund Fitzgerald - good points. The amazing thing to me is that after all these years (it will be 25 years in November) and underwater robots and what have you the conclusions on the cause are as follows:

"She might have broke up
Or she might have capsized
She may have broke deep and took water."

Amazing. I've read loads on the Fitzgerald ("Big Fitz" they called it) and have seen "the faces and the names" and it amazes me how well GL nailed that in so short a time. In a post somewhere else around here I mentioned that I had the privledge to see him (one of many times) in late November of 1975. He started talking a little bit about the Fitzgerald, starting playing chords on his guitar and muttering some half formed verses and then said "it's something I'm working on." When I picked up "Summertime Dream" the day it was released I ws stunned with what had happened with "what he was working on." He had the basic structure of the song figured out and had let a capacity crowd at Avery Fisher Hall inside the songwriter's mind for half a minute. I will never forget that.

vlmagee 04-14-2000 02:41 PM

Wow fezo! That's a wonderful memory. At Wayne Francis' web site he lists the Avery Fisher Hall concerts in 1975 as on 11/21 and 11/22. I think the 22nd was the Saturday ... the song was inspired by the Newsweek article in the issue dated 11/24, and I think that it hit the newstands on the Saturday before the cover date. (Lightfoot has also said that he read the article 12 days after the shipwreck, having first heard about it on TV the evening it happened).

That means that he played a bit of it for you on the day he decided to write it! Amazing. Then he went home, finished it in a couple of days, and recorded it for posterity.

Valerie Magee

fezo 04-14-2000 03:20 PM

quote:Originally posted by steve:
On Susan's Floor describes a woman who actually took in many young struggling folk and country singers. GL told the story at a concert in Buffalo in the mid 70's

That's true. I asked him once about 'Susan' and he told me the same story.


Simone 04-14-2000 06:53 PM

Right now, this is an easy question. Tomorrow, it will be a hard one. As my musical tastes evolve and my life ever changes, my love for different Lightfoot songs seem to change. That is the beauty of his music. I am glad there has been many postings regarding "Minstrel of the Dawn."
Right now, that one does it for me. I sometimes think it is autobiographical, yet other times I wonder. I guess I can sum it up by quoting one line from "Minstrel."
...AND IF YOU MEET HIM YOU WILL BE, THE VICTIM OF HIS MINSTREL SEED... This has happened to all of us, if not in person, in our minds and in our hearts. Thanks Gord.

Hannah 04-15-2000 01:05 PM

My favorite Gordon Lightfoot song is the Canadian Railroad Trilogy. The song appeals to me threefold. The first reason is the rythm. He has perfectly captured the rythim of a train on guitar. The second is that he captured a piece of history. Rarely is this part of history captured in music. The popular media for railroad history is film or book. And the third reason I like this song is personal. I grew up idolizing my father and his love for the railroad. It brings back many memories of my father's late nights building his model railroad.

rainydayperson 04-18-2000 03:33 PM

A lot of emphasis has been placed on the Man's words, and indeed they are brilliant, but for me the whole package includes the music, and we forget sometimes how gifted a musical brain we're dealing with. Can I suggest three songs that have not been mentioned much? Spanish Moss, Looking at the Rain and Now and Then. They have a common thread of love lost - and marvellous use of major seventh chords. The chord sequence in Spanish Moss I could play all day, and the way major sevenths come in the middle of the other two really reinforces the mellow mood.
GL is certainly master musical composer, carefully selecting the right chords, melody and rhythm for each song/story. I love his maj7, m7, sus4, and come to think of it, any other chord he uses!

Bless you all and keep you on the road to better things

Longboarder32 04-20-2000 12:37 PM

My favorite Lightfoot tune is 10 DEGREES AND GETTING COLDER, it is such a good song. I am just a Lightfoot fan, but I think that song is awesome.

Anne 04-20-2000 11:28 PM

Beautiful and The Last Time I Saw Her are two of my perennial favorites. It all depends on what is happening in my life at the time. I first heart GL in 1968 when my older brother brought home a recording of Softly and CRT. I fell in love with the man, his music and lyrics at that time, when I was only in 7th grade!

I am newly registed, and have been following this site since last November. I can't believe how lucky I am to find fans that feel the same way about this man who has meant so much to me throughout my life. I hope to hear from many of you, including lams, Chris, Florian, Val, etc. You all have so much to offer in the way of information, interesting tidbits, etc. I just saw Gord in Lincoln City, Oregon on April 14, and it was great, as usual. I have been to 7-8 concerts over the years, have not always been close to a venue, but lately have decided to take the time to seek him out, no matter where he is. My husband and I traveled over 6 hours to make it to Lincoln City. My only disappointment with Lincoln City was that Gord only sang for a little less than 90 minutes, and took no intermission, which he usually seems to do. He seemed a bit tired at first, but warmed up nicely. He had two shows to do the next day, so maybe he was pacing himself. Unfortunately I couldn't stay for the next day. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who saw him on April 14 or 15. There has been a lot of discussion at this site about Gord's voice changing over the years. I agree, but haven't we all had a few changes? I saw him at the Universal Amphitheater in Universal Studios, Cal, in the mid-70's, where he was, unfortunately, struggling with his issues with alcohol at the time, and he had a lot of trouble remembering many of the lyrics to his songs. Many songs went unfinished at that concert, and he and the band just started up with another one each time he got off track. I would rather see him today, sober and a little older and wiser, than during those difficult times in the past, even if the voice is not as deep and resonant as it has been in the past. I have loved ones who have triumphed over addictions, and I can't say how much I admire their tenacity and strength in overcoming such a difficult time in their lives. "Hats off to you, Gord", you will always have my admiration for all that you have accomplished, both personally and professionally!

[This message has been edited by Anne (edited April 20, 2000).]

Roxane in Texas 05-10-2000 09:50 AM

It's interesting to me to read all the comments about this artist who has touched my heart and soul for so many years. As many of you note, it's hard to think of a Lightfoot song that's not really wonderful. One of my personal favorites, though, is Old Dan's Records--it ignites appealing images of simpler times and a sense of continuity that comes through in all his music. Christian Island is another favorite as are The Last Time I Saw Her and Beautiful. Thanks to Mr. Lightfoot for so many years of such beautiful music.

jay 05-10-2000 12:25 PM

At about 12 or 13 years of age, I recall sitting in our car on a cold and gray South Dakota morning while my father went into a store to do some errand. The most beautiful song was played on the car radio: I waited anxiously for the DJ to tell me the name of the song and the artust. But he never did.

Years later, as a 19 year old in the summer of 1975, I went to a record store in Minneapolis to see what they had on Gordon Lightfoot> I had heard some of his popular songs and wanted to hear more. So I come to this album titled "The Very Best of Gordon Lightfoot" and think that is just what I need, a greatest hits album. Iflipped it over and began to read titles: Did She Nention My Name, I'm Not Sayin',Canadian Railroad Trilogy, Walls, Wherefore and Why, and other songs that I hadn't heard of.

And then I saw it. The fourth song on side two. I knew it had to be the song from long ago on that cold and blustery day. "The Last Time I Saw Her."

I listened to that album countless times and soon began adding others to my collection. And Gord has been a favorite ever since. But for all of Gord's songs that I have loved, many of them mentioned in other posts, none can ever match the affection I have for "The Last Time I Saw Her."

"Resting on the frozen ground
The seeds of love lie cold and still
Beneath a battered marking stone
It lies forgotten."

Don't we all have such a stone somewhere in our hearts?


2Much2Lose 05-12-2000 12:25 AM

What a beautiful story!

My current favorite premiered on Songbook, "Too Much To Lose," and in particular, the lyric "the dustcloud on the edge of town is me."

But it's probably my favorite because the newly released oldies on Songbook allowed me to travel back to the early Lightfoot years and hear his great lyrics sung when he still had a great voice. Not that I mind his current voice, but time has taken somewhat of a toll.

More objectively, "Beautiful" is my alltime favorite, "IYCRMM" I could listen to forever, and my favorite song when I'm driving a long distance is "Alberta Bound" (even if I'm headed the other direction).

Although I loved IYCRMM, when that song came out I rarely shelled out for an album when I only liked one song and IYCRMM was the only single I knew from that album. Ironically, the song that hooked me was GL's version of "Me and Bobby McGee," which I already knew of thru Pearl's (Janice Joplin) very different recording. I remember listening to GL's version in a record store, then waiting to hear the next song (Approaching Lavender). When I loved that song, I proceeded to listen to half the album in the record store. I promptly bought it.

The other song that hooked me was "Canadian Railroad Trilogy." A friend of mine could play and sing it pretty well, and I used to love to sing along. Still do, nearly thirty years laters.

Best regards, 2Much2Lose

[This message has been edited by 2Much2Lose (edited May 14, 2000).]

Seven Islander 05-13-2000 12:22 AM

My favorite song, after listening to GL and playing his songs on my old Yamaha guitar for 27 years, is Seven Islands Suite. The chord progression is very dramatic. Lyrically it is exciting too-I can see the fiery autumn colors and smell the harbor smells. I am landlocked here in Wyoming and it was GL who first opened my imagination to the Sea. All of his sea ballads are marvelous-the Edmund Fitz, the Yarmouth Castle, Christian Island...and I can't take a sip of good Scotch without thinking of GL somehow.

jay 05-14-2000 10:26 AM

I posted my sentimental favorite above. And I have read (again) all of the other posts, and I am a little surprised at the relative lack of attention paid to the following songs:
Canadian Railroad Trilogy: powerful subject, powerful music, powerful lyrics, and powerful performance. Didn't I read once that he wrote it for Expo 68? Just a GREAT song right up to the climax ("ON the mountaintops we stand/ All the world at our command/ We have opened up the soil? With our teardops . . . and out toil!!!) Then the repeat of the first verse and the haunting ending. I hav e probably listened to this song more than any other, and LOUDLY!!

Early Morning Rain: A great song that gave Gord one of his early hands up the ladder.

The Way I Feel: Either version. I will never get tired of hearing this song.

Carefree Highway: One of the best songs off of the most popular album. Vintage Gord.

Like most of you you, the problem here is where to start and where to end. The list of great songs goes on . . .

Marijuana medical

MDLemmer 05-27-2000 03:43 PM

Been listening to Gordon since childhood, and I love them all, but Welcome To Try on WFY really moves me. It sounded too much like my own life at the time. I wonder what prompted GL to write that one. I was in alot of pain at the time. Saw Gordon in Cheyenne WY in fall of '94, what a great show. And how cool to see his band all together after all these years!

jayws 06-06-2000 04:04 PM

I have been a fan for my entire 26 years and I agree that it is very hard to choose one, but I think Shadows would have to be right there.

jayws 06-06-2000 04:04 PM

I have been a fan for my entire 26 years and I agree that it is very hard to choose one, but I think Shadows would have to be right there.

Dickman 06-07-2000 11:38 PM

My favorite Gordon Lightfoot song was one that wasn't written by him. But no one has covered "Me & Bobby McGee" better than Gordon Lightfoot did. Not even Janis Joplin's cover surpasses Lightfoot's rendition of Kris Kristoffserson's country classic. Check it out on the "Sit Down Young Stranger" album. I also Don Quixote--one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar. Great song!

Steve R 06-07-2000 11:38 PM

My favorite Gordon Lightfoot song was one that wasn't written by him. But no one has covered "Me & Bobby McGee" better than Gordon Lightfoot did. Not even Janis Joplin's cover surpasses Lightfoot's rendition of Kris Kristoffserson's country classic. Check it out on the "Sit Down Young Stranger" album. I also Don Quixote--one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar. Great song!

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