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Old 11-12-2002, 04:06 PM   #1
charlize_angel4
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hi, this is my first time on this board. I really like the song "Sit down young stranger" and was wondering what do you guys think this song is about, the theme?
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Old 11-12-2002, 04:25 PM   #2
Auburn Annie
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According to Gord from the SONGBOOK notes:

2/1. SIT DOWN YOUNG STRANGER

It's a protest song. I wrote a few protest songs, but I felt it was kind of silly for me to write protest songs, being a Canadian. After all, people could say, "What the hell is a Canadian doing protesting against an American problem?" It's tantamount to cashing in on a sensitive American situation, but I decided to do it in a subtle way. I think this one really worked, though, because I knew what I was talking about. Three-quarters of the way through it, I hit on the core statement: "War is not the answer, and young men should not die." Everything I say before that leads up to that observation. It just works.

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Old 11-12-2002, 06:35 PM   #3
charlize_angel4
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Thanks for the information, but how is this song related to war? I saw it as being about dreams and wealth. I thought it focused on this person trying to find himself.
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Old 11-13-2002, 02:16 AM   #4
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Welcome Charlize.. great to have you on board.

Isn't it a great song, definitely Gord at the peak of his creative brilliance ( IMHO )

I'm sorry but I don't like the description given to many songs in the songbook. It's not where Gord was when he wrote the song ( eg. SFAWN ), it's whats going on in his head at the time that matters.

The answer is not easy
For souls are not reborn
To wear the crown of peace
You must wear the crown of thorns
If Jesus had a reason
I'm sure he would not tell
We treated him so badly
How could he wish us well

this is just magic !!..

I've always taken it to mean that the young man has crossed the border to avoid the draft, and now the conflict is over he has returned home, "to wear the crown of thorn", as a dratf dodger. Which has caused his mum and dad great anguish.

Given the dates when it was written and first recorded, there would be some problems here, for it to fit with Vietnam.

Never mind thats how I see it in my minds eye.. If I'm wrong I'll accept it.. ( but sorry my mind is closed on this subject, so it won't change..).

Bill in Maryland and Roy in California, what do you reckon guys...

Keep Smiling. Ron.

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Old 11-13-2002, 08:10 AM   #5
paula1964
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The meaning of "Summer Side of Life" has been somewhat of a mystery to me although I think it is a protest of war and how old men plan wars and young men fight and die in them. May be wrong but would love to hear from someone. What a nice board to be own. I'm new to it but not to Gord!!!

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Old 11-13-2002, 11:51 AM   #6
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Ron,

I agree that it's a "protest song" and it could be about the Vietnam era but it is also more timeless than that.
I love the way you fleshed out the story! I listened to it just now three times in a row and I heard three different meanings, LOL. But it's a great song even for someone who might disagree with the sentiment of "war is not the answer". But that's another topic entirely.
Bill
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Old 11-13-2002, 01:14 PM   #7
Auburn Annie
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Marty Robbins recorded Ribbon of Darkness in March 1965 and the Early Morning Rain album by Ian & Sylvia is also from 1965. In Vietnam in 1965 Operation Rolling Thunder - the bombing of North Vietnam - began in February and by year's end there were 200,000 troops deployed. "Teach-ins" protesting US policy sprouted on campuses all around the country, beginning in Michigan in March (U Mich at Ann Arbor).
We forget from this distance in time that demonstrations/protests began well before Kent State; many of the 'folkies' were early responders. The Buddhists protesting Diem's religious intolerance began self-immolating in 1963, I think. Social activists of all stripes were active in the 50s on other issues so it was a natural progression of their concerns.
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Old 11-13-2002, 09:06 PM   #8
BILLW
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To everyone,
You guys are certainly an interesting, knowlegeable, diverse and wonderful group. Please accept my sincere thanks for being here and providing a much needed diversion. I am constantly amazed at the depth of thought, etc. around this board.
Rock on dudes,
Bill
If I missed anyone let me know...
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Old 11-14-2002, 10:11 PM   #9
catmanron
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Oma, I hope you have the "Live in Reno" DVD, no doubt its not as good as being at the concert live, but for someone like me who lives a "million" miles away, it's great to be able to listen and watch a GL Concert, and the quality is just fantastic.

You know guys, one of the things I really enjoy on this site is when we discuss the meaning of words, phrases, verses or even whole songs..

We all relate to the written word in such different ways, depending upon our, location, age, and lifes experiences. This is the great thing about Lightfoot words, they mean different things to us as we move through life.

Another good thing with these discussions, is that no one is going to say we are wrong, least of all Gord. ( although there is a rumor going round that Char. has offered Gord free computer lessons while he is recuperating at home... lol )

Have a great weekend.. everyone

keep smiling..

Ron.
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Old 11-15-2002, 08:24 AM   #10
char
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Ron - wouldn't THAT be great???
lol
woo-hoo!
Char
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Old 11-15-2002, 06:50 PM   #11
charlize_angel4
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Thanks everyone for their input. Wow! I can't believe how many posts have been made due to mine. Thanks again all, for your thoughts.

charlize
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Old 11-16-2002, 02:28 AM   #12
catmanron
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Char.. you'll be fantastic... you should make the offer immediately... lol

Oma, I can't believe you haven't got " Don Quixote ", its the greatest LP, ever by anyone ( IMHO ).. every song is just magic..

especially.. Christain Island, Alberta Bound, Second cup of coffee, big Blue, Second cup of Coffee, ( and Char's special song ) Beautiful... and I'm not getting into the argument who Gord actually did write it for..lol, and musn't forget Brave Mountaineers, Susans Floor and the Patriot's Dream..( classics everyone of them,,,with DQ as good as any.. ).

Oma, you cannot wait until Christmas, you must get it NOW !!.

Oh.. yes, I'm from Melbourne Australia, a million plus miles away.. and the place where they made a film about the last place on earth ( On the Beach ), and Ava Gardiner said it was the most appropriate place to make such a film.. lol ( what would she know )

Enough from Me.. have a great weekend everyone.. and OMA.. hit the stores..

Keep Smiling... Ron..
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Old 11-16-2002, 04:46 AM   #13
BILLW
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Oma,

Ron is right! Wait for Christmas Day for the DVD but go now, either to the mall or online at CDUniverse.com and purchase Don Quixote. It's considered old so it usually is priced well below normal retail. But it is the essential album, GL at his peak, or one of his peaks, I think he probably has a peak or two to go. "Second Cup of Coffee" is worth the price alone but each and every song on the album is perfect, no kidding. Go Soon!
Bill
Ron: great album review!
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Old 11-18-2002, 04:49 PM   #14
violet Blue Horse
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When you read someone's post, up at the top on the right, above the text are three icons. The one on the far left is to look up someone's profile, the one on the far right looks like a page of paper with a red arrow attached to it. This is the "reply with quote" icon to the post you're reading. I don't remember what the one in the middle does *grin*. If you put your cursor over each icon a message should pop up below your cursor telling you what the icon is for.

For me, I think Vietnam made such a horrendous impact on my life at a very early age, that I tend to hear all protest songs -probably until the late 80's when we had other wars to protest - filtered through those memories. I have always heard "Sit Down Young Stranger" through that filter, so I've always thought of it as linked with the Vietnam era, though if it was written in 1964 I suppose that's not possible.

It has always been to me, not a protest against a specific war, but a protest against the mentality of war that sends young innocent men off to fight something or someone they don't neccesarily have enough maturity or education to know as the enemy. They are told "Here is the enemy, he is evil" and they go. Those who send them out to die, unless they've been there themselves, can't always understand the impact it makes on the young men and women who survive.

quote:Originally posted by Oma:


Oh, by the way, how would I grab a quote from someone else's post to put in a reply post of mine??? I see it done all the time here, but don't know how to do it myself. I don't know if I explained that very well!!


[This message has been edited by Oma (edited November 18, 2002).]




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What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.

--R.W. Emerson
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Old 11-20-2002, 10:10 PM   #15
jg005@aol
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Oma:
[B]I got the lyrics from Val's site...it is a wonderful site!!!!

This is totally my opinion about what the lyrics say to me. I'm sure there are many other takes on it!

Sit Down Young Stranger, 1970 by Gordon Lightfoot

I read your analysis of sit down young stranger and I love it. I always thought of this song as on`e of lightfoots deepest ones because they were very blue and tender. But again I just about love all his songs. I mean just about all of them.

I think Gordon is not pro war. I think canada is not pro war. And he to me represents canadian spirit. by the way I am not canadian but like most of the canadian rock and folk singers.

I also thnk by virtue of the fact that Gordon mentioned Jesus as the symbol for peace and forgiveness tells me a lot about who Gordon is and what he realy stands for.

I love Gord. And I thank you for your analysis of GORDS SONGS.

John the American Mesapotemian
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