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Old 01-07-2004, 02:31 PM   #26
Cubfan64
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quote:Originally posted by Cathy:
...if any of the other four can't make it, we'll recruit some new musicians. I'm sure there are many around, and probably quite a few right here in Corfidland who are itching to do one of these tributes. There is nothing more fun than getting together to play Lightfoot music!



Hi Cathy,

You're absolutely right... I would be among those musicians itching to take part in any Gord tribute. I'm in Michigan (we've chatted briefly once or twice) and have played guitar only locally, and rather infrequently at that. It's been hard to find fellow musicians with the same musical taste as me - Lightfoot being #1, but also heavily influenced by Simon & Garfunkel, Harry Chapin, Jim Croce, etc. And I haven't made it into the Tuesday (?) chats yet, either, but haven't forgotten about them.

Anyway, geography and distance notwithstanding, I would love to be involved in a tribute. I do rhythm guitar, some fingerpicking/flatpicking & vocals. DQ is one of my favorites to play, but I have also performed BossMan, Home from the Forest, CRT (the 1st song I ever played for an audience), IYCRMM, Sit Down Young Stranger, Go Go Round, Fitzgerald, Seven Island Suite, Movin', Did She Mention My Name and several others. I still don't have what I need to record and (now in the midst of a divorce) it'll be awhile before I can arrange recording. I do have an old recording of my ex-partner (on upright bass) and me (on guitar) doing two songs from Gord's "Two Tones" days with Terry Whelan - "The Fox" and "Sinnerman".

Whew! Sorry to ramble on... Suffice to say it would be great fun to be part of any Lightfoot tribute.

Dan
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Old 01-07-2004, 02:31 PM   #27
The Intended
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quote:Originally posted by Cathy:
...if any of the other four can't make it, we'll recruit some new musicians. I'm sure there are many around, and probably quite a few right here in Corfidland who are itching to do one of these tributes. There is nothing more fun than getting together to play Lightfoot music!



Hi Cathy,

You're absolutely right... I would be among those musicians itching to take part in any Gord tribute. I'm in Michigan (we've chatted briefly once or twice) and have played guitar only locally, and rather infrequently at that. It's been hard to find fellow musicians with the same musical taste as me - Lightfoot being #1, but also heavily influenced by Simon & Garfunkel, Harry Chapin, Jim Croce, etc. And I haven't made it into the Tuesday (?) chats yet, either, but haven't forgotten about them.

Anyway, geography and distance notwithstanding, I would love to be involved in a tribute. I do rhythm guitar, some fingerpicking/flatpicking & vocals. DQ is one of my favorites to play, but I have also performed BossMan, Home from the Forest, CRT (the 1st song I ever played for an audience), IYCRMM, Sit Down Young Stranger, Go Go Round, Fitzgerald, Seven Island Suite, Movin', Did She Mention My Name and several others. I still don't have what I need to record and (now in the midst of a divorce) it'll be awhile before I can arrange recording. I do have an old recording of my ex-partner (on upright bass) and me (on guitar) doing two songs from Gord's "Two Tones" days with Terry Whelan - "The Fox" and "Sinnerman".

Whew! Sorry to ramble on... Suffice to say it would be great fun to be part of any Lightfoot tribute.

Dan
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Old 01-07-2004, 06:29 PM   #28
Cathy
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Here's one that was posted on the newsgroup today, probably THE best Edmund Fitzgerald related articles I've ever read.
If you're looking on, Tony, thanks for posting it.


From: http://www.metrotimes.com/editorial/story.asp?id=5585

Lightfooting the mighty Edmund Fitzgerald

by Chris Handyside
11/5/2003

A glimpse into our own fragile humanity


I had the chills, the shivers. It was the fall of '82. Ten years old,
sitting cross-legged on the floor of my cozy bedroom in suburban
Northville when I got the mortality scared into me by a simple song.
Sure I had already thrilled to the illicit dope of the Sex Pistols and
giggled like a jabbering monkey at Elton John's "The Bitch Is Back"
whenever my parents were unwise enough to not hit "Forward" on the
8-track.

But I had just heard the Song. Gordon Lightfoot's "The Wreck of the
Edmund Fitzgerald." And I'll be damned if the nascent morbid curiosity
that found vampires and Sasquatch around every corner and under every
car and my socially awkward interest in history weren't on a collision
course with my fit-to-burst devotion to the life-altering effects of
pop music.

In retrospect, I realize that to most of the outside world, Gordon
Lightfoot's "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" was a piece of FM-pop
tributary that had more in common with Don McLean than Dylan, but to
me it was the gateway to Mystery with a capital "M" (and I'm not the
kind of person to throw around hyperbolic invocations of the divine
lightly).

"The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down/of the big lake they
call Gitcheegumee." I mean what the hell was that?!?! "Superior it's
said never gives up her dead/ when the skies of November turn gloomy."
Lightfoot goes on to reel in the listener by reeling off the tale - in
perfectly economical, intimate singsong narrative - of the sinking of
the largest of ships on the largest of inland seas during one of the
largest storms seen in recent history. Hooked. It may not have been
the most disastrous wreck off Superior's shoreline, but Lightfoot's
song has, in many ways made the Fitzgerald a symbol for the tragedy of
all the Great Lakes shipwrecks.

For me, the fascination with the Edmund Fitzgerald story began early.
As fate would have it, my uncle had worked on the Fitzgerald weeks
before it went down. He transferred to the Detroit River mailboat the
J.M. Prescott - the very boat that would have delivered glad tidings
and news of home to the men of the Fitzgerald had it not sunk 17 miles
off the coast of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

So began a lifelong fascination with a song, an event and a mystery
that would find me "shush-ing" more passengers in my various old-model
Fords than my teenage years would suggest.

The song is, after all, the most eloquent toast at the most public and
ongoing '70s-vintage FM wake this side of "Ode to Billie Joe."

Being there

You have to drive through Paradise to get to the Graveyard of Ships.
Or, more accurately, if you're coming from downstate, you have to not
blink as you blow through Paradise on your way to Whitefish Point, the
farthest spit of land arcing out into Lake Superior off the Shipwreck
Coast. It's 350 miles north of Detroit. The lighthouse on the point's
tip was likely the last thing U.S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald Captain Ernest
McSorley saw before he and the 28 souls in his charge aboard the
729-foot iron freighter perished in 40-foot seas blown by
90-mile-per-hour winds. It was 28 years ago this week.

Today at Whitefish Point, you can visit the Shipwreck Museum - a
surprisingly well-kept attraction as UP tourist traps go - at
Whitefish Point. All whitewashed post-Victorian restoration,
mold-tinged history. You can even stay in the lighthouse if you pony
up the dough.

Visit in July and you'll step out of balmy breeze and bright sunshine
into a gloomy blue-hued hall with shining, glass-encased exhibits of
shipwreck artifacts, glorified flotsam and portraiture commemorating
the thousands of men on hundreds of ships lost in Lake Superior.

But piped in through the museum's speakers on perpetual loop is a song
about one boat, a tragic proxy for all the rest. The singer tells the
story of the Witch of November that stole the lives of those who had
earlier that day, under clouding skies, "left fully loaded for
Cleveland."

Well, technically, they were headed for Zug Island. Which is one of
the reasons this Sunday, at Mariners' Church in Detroit, the church
bell will ring 29 times - in Lightfoot's words, once for each man on
the Edmund Fitzgerald.

The enduring eulogy

It could be that it's just a damn crafty folk tune in the tradition of
ancient murder ballads and timeless sea chanteys. But in the interest
of objectivity, I asked a few people whose musical taste or
songwriting chops I value to weigh in on the subject. And their
connections ranged from nonexistent to banal to sublime. Oh, but read
on, won't ye?

"I like the tune," says the most cynical person I've had the pleasure
of meeting, Small Stone Records' Scott Hamilton.

"When you hear the song you can picture the events of that night in
your head... which says a lot.

"'The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald' is one of those '70s classics
that probably hits a bigger chord with anyone in the Great Lakes
region, but when that song came out I was living somewhere in New
England and had never even been to Michigan... [and] if that tune
comes on the radio, I am turning it up."

But, I wondered, could there be a generational gap at work here? Does
the song mean the same thing to people who were born after the
sinking, before they were conscious of radio? I asked Saturday Looks
Good to Me main man Fred Thomas, who was born shortly after the Fitz
went down.

"It played on the radio from time to time when I was growing up, but I
always confused it for 'The Day The Music Died,'" says Thomas, who, it
must be said, is more aware and connected to music and its
transformative powers than 99.99 percent of the humans walking the
planet (that I've met so far).

"The line 'Does anyone know where the love of God goes, when the waves
turn the minutes to hours,'" remembers Blanche's Dan Miller - himself
no stranger to penning and interpreting tales of heartache and woe
through song.

"Things get really sparse there and this line does what a great
storytelling lyric should do ... puts you right in that situation ...
the impending doom just seeps into you while you listen to it.

"I loved the classic storytelling form of it, the broad setting at the
beginning, then getting specific," continues Miller. "The call and
response of the cook saying 'It's too rough to feed ya,' to the
captain's 'It's been good to know ya.'"

But I wanted to know, too, from someone who grew up within a UP
commute distance from Whitefish Point. So I turned to Mike Walker of
the Finer Things (née Bogue), who grew up, literally, on the shores of
Lake Superior. (And, it should be said, he is of the same
micro-generation as Thomas and my younger brother Matt - who is also
sucked in by the tune).

"I like the song, much to the chagrin of all those around me," says
Walker. My appreciation of the piece only increased when I heard the
Butthole Surfers do an impromptu version of the song on a radio
interview, nothing short of amazing there."

And here Walker cuts to the true heart of the song, the way it hijacks
the imagination.

"Then there's the issue of when you're a kid and you can't grasp the
size of things. I once attempted to 'dive' for the ship," he recalls,
"not realizing that the strip of beach by where I grew up was nowhere
near the fall of the mighty Fitz.

"Around the same time I thought the Sistine Chapel was in Marquette
too. Go figure."

Epilogue

Cut to November 1993. It is nearly closing time at the Gaelic League
in downtown Detroit. Barely 21 years old and my gathered friends and I
are swaying in that way that 21-year-olds are wont to do at 2 a.m. -
beers in hand and whiskey in belly. It is the kind of hazy arrogant
glory of youth that taunts mortality. We have finally, after hours of
cajoling, gotten Detroit folksinger and League weekend troubadour
Larry Larson to let loose his ripping and dead-Lightfoot-ringer
version of "The Wreck." And no word of a lie, by the time Larson has
rhetorically, lyrically asked, "Does anyone know where the love of God
goes/when the waves turn the minutes to hours," the five friends at my
table and the 20 other folks there besides have dropped what it was
they were prattling on about and are now locked in a moment. Beers
sweating rings on the table, our eyes are cast downward.

For what is the power of song if not a vessel through which we share
our most primordial essence - that commingling of deep midnight fear,
visceral agitations, the coursing of blood through veins, the
simultaneous celebration and mourning of our flickering presence.

In the cloak of an FM-radio-friendly folk-rock tune, Lightfoot managed
a trick of transcendence in the service of 29 men who were handed over
to nature's mysterious grasp on the night of November 9, 1975. The
song takes us out onto the waters and offers us a glimpse into our own
fragile humanity.

At Whitefish Point you can walk down to the water, slip off your shoes
and wade into Superior's chill. Even in the depths of a late July
balm, with breeze-blown waves licking your kneecaps, you can sense the
raw power of the inland sea. And if Lightfoot's deceptively simple,
deeply humanistic memorial song for the lost isn't rattling around in
your head, then you're simply not listening hard enough.
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Old 01-07-2004, 07:18 PM   #29
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WOW that was neat!!! I was in high school when that song came out and I couldn't get it out of my mind. I looked it up everywhere but the story was just too recent to find much info on, and many people in my area (New England) didn't know if the story was true of if GL just made it up. Wrote to the Shipwreck Museum to get articles about it during 1989 explorations.
Now with the Net we can just read all about it, discuss the lyrics and then some!
One of the articles I have says the real
Edmund Fitzgerald, the insurance exec, was haunted by the wreck until his death in 1986
(age 90) and his family tried to keep him from ever hearing the song. There is a book out now by his son, called "the ship and the man".
________
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Old 01-07-2004, 07:18 PM   #30
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WOW that was neat!!! I was in high school when that song came out and I couldn't get it out of my mind. I looked it up everywhere but the story was just too recent to find much info on, and many people in my area (New England) didn't know if the story was true of if GL just made it up. Wrote to the Shipwreck Museum to get articles about it during 1989 explorations.
Now with the Net we can just read all about it, discuss the lyrics and then some!
One of the articles I have says the real
Edmund Fitzgerald, the insurance exec, was haunted by the wreck until his death in 1986
(age 90) and his family tried to keep him from ever hearing the song. There is a book out now by his son, called "the ship and the man".
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Old 01-08-2004, 10:38 PM   #31
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quote:Originally posted by The Intended:
Hi Cathy,

You're absolutely right... I would be among those musicians itching to take part in any Gord tribute. I'm in Michigan (we've chatted briefly once or twice) and have played guitar only locally, and rather infrequently at that. It's been hard to find fellow musicians with the same musical taste as me - Lightfoot being #1, but also heavily influenced by Simon & Garfunkel, Harry Chapin, Jim Croce, etc. And I haven't made it into the Tuesday (?) chats yet, either, but haven't forgotten about them.

Anyway, geography and distance notwithstanding, I would love to be involved in a tribute. I do rhythm guitar, some fingerpicking/flatpicking & vocals. DQ is one of my favorites to play, but I have also performed BossMan, Home from the Forest, CRT (the 1st song I ever played for an audience), IYCRMM, Sit Down Young Stranger, Go Go Round, Fitzgerald, Seven Island Suite, Movin', Did She Mention My Name and several others. I still don't have what I need to record and (now in the midst of a divorce) it'll be awhile before I can arrange recording. I do have an old recording of my ex-partner (on upright bass) and me (on guitar) doing two songs from Gord's "Two Tones" days with Terry Whelan - "The Fox" and "Sinnerman".

Whew! Sorry to ramble on... Suffice to say it would be great fun to be part of any Lightfoot tribute.

Dan


Dan, e-mail me at cathy@cathycowette.com
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Old 01-09-2004, 03:53 PM   #32
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Of course,I'd take part in a Gordon Lightfoot tribute! I'm a lyric writer (although I've never done it professionally) and I can sing. I'd want to join GL in a couple of songs though,that would be the ultimate! Most likely Cotton Jenny,Pony Man,Sundown and Carefree Highway. I sing those quite well. "Fitz." has too many lyrics to get through,unless I had a good deal of rehearsal and memorization time. (Yeah,like the past 25 years wasn't enough time. ) Been me,later!

------------------
Borderstone,gonna post some lines tonight!:D
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