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Old 08-19-2011, 08:29 AM   #1
charlene
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Default column - A Lightfoot song should last forever

http://www.echopress.com/event/artic...group/Opinion/

Column – A Gordon Lightfoot song should last forever
Bob Dylan once said, “When I hear a Gordon Lightfoot song, I wish it would last forever.” That’s the way I feel, too.
By: Dennis Dalman, Alexandria Echo Press

Bob Dylan once said, “When I hear a Gordon Lightfoot song, I wish it would last forever.”

That’s the way I feel, too.

Back in 1967, a friend said to me one day, “Hey, you gotta hear this singer. He’s a Canadian. Name’s Gordon Lightfoot.”

He put the album (it was called “The Way I Feel”) on the record player. I couldn’t believe my ears – how original and how good it was, not to mention the evocative power of the singer’s voice, like a storyteller around a campfire, letting you in on the secrets of the universe, making you feel so happy to be alive. Some of those first Lightfoot songs I heard were Early Morning Rain, Canadian Railroad Trilogy, Song for a Winter’s Night, Softly, For Lovin’ Me, and Ribbon of Darkness.

Ever since that autumn day in 1967, Lightfoot’s songs have been as much a part of my life as the songs of Dylan, the Beatles and Ray Charles. Those are the songs I never tire of. Decade after decade, they sound as fresh as when I first heard them.

After the 1960s, Lightfoot continued to create one classic after another: The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Sundown, Rainy Day People, Don Quixote, If You Could Read My Mind, Protocol, Cotton Jenny, I’m Not Supposed to Care. Well, the list goes on…

Lightfoot is now 72 and still performing for ecstatic audiences.

The other night, a neighbor called and said, “Quick. Turn on Channel 2. Gordon Lightfoot’s on.”

I flipped the channel and there was the great man, playing his 12-string guitar and singing Don Quixote. It was then I realized, with a thump, that I had never, in my long life, seen Lightfoot perform. Not even once. Not even in a documentary or news clip or music video. That fact stunned me because I’d never really thought about it before. I’d seen Dylan four times in person; I’d seen the Beatles a zillion times in movies and on TV; and I’d seen Ray Charles perform on TV. But never Lightfoot. Strange.

You can imagine what a thrill it was for me to see the master on TV singing those songs. Lightfoot has aged, of course, but he has aged like fine wine. Remarkably, his voice sounded as good as ever and in some ways better. There was a slight sadness, a world-weary wisdom and an old man’s tenderness in that baritone voice. Those qualities had always been in Lightfoot’s singing, but even more so now.

While watching that concert (filmed in Reno, Nevada), I’d assumed it was a recent one. Later, while doing research via Internet, I found out it was much older, first broadcast in 2000, which means Lightfoot was 62 at the time. What a treat it would be to see and hear Lightfoot in performance now, at his ripe-old wise age of 72.

During my Internet research, I discovered, to my amazement, he’d created at least six albums that are unbeknown to me. I think the reason I didn’t know that is because he wrote and sang so many, many great songs, I just didn’t think there could be any more, thinking I’d heard the complete collection.

Needless to say, I just ordered “Songbook,” a four-disc, boxed set of 88 Lightfoot songs.

Something tells me I will treasure many of the songs I’ve never heard, the way I treasure a little-known gem called I’m Not Supposed to Care, a haunting song about love gone wrong. I can never hear it without getting chills from head to toes. It’s very subtle – the singer giving voice to a mixture of weariness, aching loss, regret, defeat and an infinite sadness.

You can find it on Lightfoot’s “Summertime Dream” album (1990), along with other masterworks, including Edmund Fitzgerald. Check it out.

Lightfoot is one of those people you just wish would live forever. And, sadly, of course he won’t. But, thankfully, his music will.


Dennis Dalman, a former reporter for the Echo Press, is a regular contributing columnist to the Opinion page. He is currently the editor of the St. Joseph Newsleader. He can be reached via e-mail at dennisdalman@jetup.net.
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Old 08-19-2011, 01:10 PM   #2
Tim
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Default Re: column - A Lightfoot song should last forever

A nice article. Mr. Dalman writes a very positive tapestry of Gordon and what he has contributed to many lives -- especially those who hang out on corfid.com.

I did notice he described seeing Gordon playing Don Quixote on the 12-string which I don't think I've ever seen him do, and he listed the Summertime Dream album as being released in 1990, when we all know it was 1976 (not long after the Fitz went down in November 1975).

But, he can be forgiven on those minor issues. He wrote so elequently -- I especially liked his description of the meaning of "I'm Not Supposed to Care."
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Old 08-19-2011, 04:24 PM   #3
charlene
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Default Re: column - A Lightfoot song should last forever

Mr.Dalman realizes the earlier release of Summertime Dream in 1976 - he acquired it in 1990..
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Old 08-20-2011, 02:05 AM   #4
joveski
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Default Re: column - A Lightfoot song should last forever

i was going to mention don quixote and the 12-string!
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:57 PM   #5
hkusam
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Default Re: column - A Lightfoot song should last forever

A heart-felt article! It's most enjoyable to read a review that is as fresh to us as the music is to the writer.
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