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Old 05-30-2005, 08:21 PM   #1
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Do you like Ballad Of The Yarmouth Castle or The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald more? It's close, but I like the Wreck the best. Nothing beats that eerie tune and the electric guitar, although I like the lyrics in the Ballad better. (I like the tunes and the lyrics in both of them )
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Old 05-30-2005, 08:38 PM   #2
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I prefer Yarmouth Castle. I love the whole feel of the song with just the guitars and voice. The personification of the ship gives the song an eerie human quality that makes me feel the anguish and pain as she burns.
While I do appreciate the drama magnificent lyrics and timing in The Wreck I still enjoy hearing Yarmouth Castle more. To hear him do that in concert would be amazing.
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Old 05-30-2005, 09:33 PM   #3
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Old 05-30-2005, 09:50 PM   #4
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I'm going to have to cast a vote for Edmund Fitz. It's a song like no other, instantly recognized and deeply moving.

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Old 05-30-2005, 10:11 PM   #5
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Yarmouth Castle is by far my favorite of the two. I don't know why, but his most popular songs have never been my all time favorites. I still love em to pieces but they aren't at the very top of my list.
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Old 05-30-2005, 10:47 PM   #6
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Having heard Yarmouth Castle years before The Edmund Fitzgerald, I favor the Castle.

The most marvelous terrible picture is so simply described in the closing line, "and slipped beneath the waves with the mornin'"

my timbers still shiver . . .

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Old 05-30-2005, 10:58 PM   #7
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The Fitz for me, I lived along Lake Superior when it went down and the song really has a personal meaning for me. Not saying that I don't love YC too.
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Old 05-30-2005, 11:10 PM   #8
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They're both great songs but I have to choose the Yarmouth Castle. And I agree with Sentimental that some of GL's best songs were not his most popular hits. There are so many "gems" that were never released as singles nor received any radio airplay. The phrase "unrequited genius" comes to mind....
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Old 05-31-2005, 12:45 AM   #9
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I prefer Yarmouth, but I think I wouldn't be able to choose if it had been played as much as the Wreck. We loved the Wreck when it came out and at a local hang out it played many times a night for years. Great songs, both, but I love the idea of a Salty Captain, ships, seas and rivers.
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Old 05-31-2005, 09:32 AM   #10
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It's the Wreck all the way for me. No other song sounds like it or tells such a unique and tragic story. The instrumentation and whole sound of the Wreck to me makes it the most perfect song ever written. Period.
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Old 05-31-2005, 10:21 AM   #11
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It's The Yarmouth Castle for me. I think one of the main reasons, aside from the fact that it is a better melody, is that it reminds me of the Titanic the thought of which always brings tears to my eyes.
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Old 05-31-2005, 06:22 PM   #12
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My choice is most likely jaded by the fact that I've heard,"The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald" for nearly 30 years and also for my love of '70s music. So,"Wreck" it is.

"Yarmouth" is pretty good but it just doesn't resonate to my senses the way the other does. "Wreck" is something I can actually picture,since my folks and I used to go to the great Lakes when I was little,mostly Lake Erie.

Count it,1 vote for "Wreck".
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Old 05-31-2005, 06:32 PM   #13
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Can't choose. Both give me the feeling of being right there when it happened, and the music sets the mood...one thing I love about Lightfoot is that every song is different

[ June 03, 2005, 12:43: Message edited by: bjb ]
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Old 05-31-2005, 07:00 PM   #14
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Old 06-03-2005, 10:16 AM   #15
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For me it is "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald", which is the first song of Gordon Lightfoot that had my undivided attention when I heard it for the first time in 1977.
Ballad Of Yartmouth Castle is also great, I think it would have deserved a studio album release.
On this Sunday Concert release Gordon's vocals have a bit of an echoey sound (Still a great live recording for this early period). He also performed this song on some of his early 70s tours, I'm hoping very much that we are going to see an official Live release from this period one day soon.
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Old 06-07-2005, 11:10 AM   #16
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Both are great songs -- hard to pick one over the other ... but in terms of pure poetry, I'd have to pick the BYC. The last line just gives me goose bumps ... "Like a toy ship on a mill pond she burned all through the night, and slipped beneath the waves in the mornin'". I just envision the soul of that boat departing from here earthly hull as she departs into the depths.

Anyone ever did any research into that boat ... built, if I recall correctly, in 1927. She lead a pretty charmed life as a troop ship in the war and really never met any harm until that fateful trip.

I think I read somewhere (maybe here) that Gord should consider a CD of ship songs ..... not a bad idea.

Best to all!
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Old 06-08-2005, 12:52 AM   #17
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I vote for the Yarmouth Castle. It's haunting and beautiful. Here's some info I came across:
The SS Yarmouth Castle was built as a passenger vessel in 1927 with a riveted steel constructed hull and multiple wooden decks, structural support and compartments. During an overnight cruise on November 13, 1965 from Miami to Nassau, a fire broke out in a storeroom on the main deck. The USCG fire inspection proposed that a stored bed mattress fell on a jury-rigged ceiling light and started the fire. Because the ship was designed for natural ventilation, the fire progressed through the ship at an alarming rate. By the time the crew located the fire, available extinguishing equipment was not effective. A loss of power prevented the Captain from alerting the passengers soon enough to organize a successful evacuation. Of 552 passengers on board, nearly one-quarter perished.
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Old 06-08-2005, 10:11 PM   #18
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I like both songs, but The Wreck is by far my favorite song by far. If radio time is a fair measuring stick, then The Wreck gets played by at least a margin of 50 to 1 more times often. At least 50 to 1, maybe more. c'mon.
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Old 06-09-2005, 01:43 AM   #19
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Titan:

Radio time isn't too often a fair measuring stick. That would mean The Macarena is better still, or Sugar Sugar, ad nauseaum.

I figure I'm looking at it three ways tonite:

1. A Hit all over the radio; the other, obscure, but equally compelling tale. That would be on record when folks hear Gord

2. A perfomance situation by Gord. The general, less discerning, audience wants to hear the hits. They will extremely rarely give the attention necessary to appreciate an obscure gem.

3. A performance piece by a nameless band: The Wreck is such a wonderfully multi-dynamic arrangement (from bobmast to whisper to strong, clear ending.) When performing that song, a group can really cut loose w/ the changes and grab an audience, already familiar w/ the song.

Yarmouth Castle, on the other hand, is mono-dynamic throughout. It's the lyrics alone that draw the listener into the haunt and terror. It has none of the trademarks of a "grabber," and it simply conlcudes w/o fanfare. The general audience is just not hip to that.

Example: Yrs ago w/ a non-descript Las Vegas lounge band, the lady (our leader) sang Jimmy Webb's "Didn't We." She'd paid a guy in Houston for a fantastic, unique arrangement. The ending grew more and more quiet w/ each chromatically decending 13th series of chords - to a whisper.

The folks didn't know the song was over, so we ended up glueing on a Big Barry Manilow ending. She brought the house down every night.

Sorry for the ramble.

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Old 06-09-2005, 01:49 AM   #20
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A small PS:

It is so fine to hear Gitcheegoomie (or how ever you spell it) outsite The Song of Hiawatha.

Not too many people could pull that off. Maybe only one.

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Old 06-09-2005, 02:21 PM   #21
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"The folks didn't know the song was over, so we ended up glueing on a Big Barry Manilow ending. She brought the house down every night."

How funny! I guess there's been a few audience flub-ups when there are dramatic pauses in a Lightfoot song, like starting to clap too soon
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Old 06-10-2005, 03:43 AM   #22
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bjb,

How true, to quote whoever first said "how true."

But the absolute most chilling event I've ever been part of in a concert was by Gord in the early 70's at The Universal Amphitheater in LA before the put a lid on it. (I've related this somewhere before, but don't know where - so, please give the ol' piano guy a little slack.)

Seated close to the stage, I watched/listened intently as Gord sand Affair on 8th Ave. When, in the song, the riddle is posed - followed by the answer - there occurs one of those dramatic pauses you mentioned.

This one time - and, saddly, one time only - Gord let that pause hang in the air like an all-encompasing presence. Close to 10 seconds of complete silence from a capacity crowd of some 8 thousand plus souls.

Still he did not go on, but just stood there and gazed out at the living sea before him. Finally, came the "answer." We could breathe again.

Those 10 to 15 seconds (an eternity of silence) is the single most devistating moment I've ever observed. Observed? Wrong. We were part of the song.

The Rez

. . . oh, for more
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Old 06-10-2005, 01:26 PM   #23
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I really see no comparison. Yarmouth is just o.k. in my book. The Wreck is probably one of my top 10 all time. Of course, i am much younger than most of you and did not hear Yarmouth at the time of it's original release. This may be a factor.

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Old 06-10-2005, 02:31 PM   #24
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Rez,
I am always wondering about a dramatic pause like that. Is the artist seeing something in the mind's eye, or going by musical instinct, or maybe even counting? The experience on the audience side can be electrifying, then, especially when you have heard it done differently at different times...
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Old 06-11-2005, 02:09 AM   #25
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Potter,

Nothin' wrong there at all. I can't think of one song I've ever heard in my life, that has had impact on me, that didn't always relate to a place a person a season, and so on.

This "personal" part is as it should be. As Gord said, "Otherwise it wouldn't belong to you."

bjb,

From my perspective, it's like a teardrop. If done on cue, it may look sincere, but is not.

Moments as I described cannot be orchestratd. They're spontaneous and fly, or fake and fall.

Such a time may happen twice - like lightning.
But, like lightning, it's not likely to strike twice.

Sure, they're are tricks of the trade. Sure, you can move an audience on purpose. That's why certain performers and entertainers are simply more "professional" than others.

But a moment like I witnessed? I suspicion ticking clocks stand still.

The Magic of Passion is good.

The Illusion is show-biz.

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