Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Gordon Lightfoot - The Complete Singles (1970-80 canada, tremendous folk soft rock, 2019 double disc remaster)

Gordon Lightfoot is a legend in the fullest sense of the word, an honour that few musicians can claim, especially those who are still alive and active, as Lightfoot fortunately is.

Of course, there are better songwriters, better singers, and better guitarists than him, but the combination of his talents creates something truly special. On this compilation, his skill as a composer is displayed in the widely-known original songs such as “Sundown”, “Beautiful”, and “If You Could Read My Mind”, while his covers—Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee”, for example—are often as good as the originals because of the depth that Lightfoot conveys through his vocal and guitar styles.

This compilation takes the best approach to an artist as prolific and consistent as Gordon Lightfoot: to collect the singles from the most fruitful period of his career (the 1970s in this case). For those who are unfamiliar with Lightfoot’s music or want to hear a variety of his finest work, The Complete Singles 1970-1980 is a perfect way to fill a lazy weekend afternoon, or any other time for that matter.
by Ljubinko Zivkovic.

Gordon Lightfoot began his recording career in Canada, releasing his first singles in 1962.  He signed with United Artists in 1965 and released his first album, Lightfoot!, in 1966.  Three more studio albums would follow by 1968.  But he wasn’t gaining much commercial success outside of Canada as a performer and was mainly known as a songwriter with credits such as the oft-covered “Early Morning Rain.”  That all changed when he signed to Reprise/Warner Bros. in 1970 and teamed with producer Lenny Waronker.

The first single released was a cover of “Me and Bobby McGee,” which again didn’t see much chart action outside of Canada.  Things would be completely different, however, with the November 1970 release of “If You Could Read My Mind.”  That Lightfoot original finally broke the singer out with American audiences becoming a No. 1 AC hit and climbing to No. 5 on the Hot 100.  The next couple of years brought more minor hits (including the No. 11 “Talking in Your Sleep” in 1971) but Lightfoot would see a string of major successes beginning with 1974’s “Sundown”, which hit the peak of the Hot 100 and AC charts.  Two more AC No. 1s would immediately follow: “Carefree Highway” and “Rainy Day People.”  Another hit came with 1976’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”  The epic tale of the doomed ship peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 and No. 9 on the AC chart.  Other AC hits through 1978 included “Race Among the Ruin” (No. 13), “The Circle is Small (I Can See It In Your Eyes)” (No. 3) and “Daylight Katy” (No. 16).  Lightfoot would remain on Warner Bros. through 1998.  In the 20 years since, he has only released two albums: 2004’s Harmony on Linus Entertainment and the live set All Live on Rhino in 2012.  He has, however, maintained a busy touring schedule.

Real Gone’s new compilation presents Lightfoot’s complete A and B-sides from 1970-1980, totaling 34 songs in all.  The single versions of “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and “Rainy Day People” make their CD debuts, as well as six other songs that appear in their mono single versions on CD for the first time.  Real Gone has utilized the commercial, stock version of the singles unless the commercial version was released in both mono and stereo.  In those instances, the version used depended on the best source that could be found.  The set has been newly remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision, with additional mastering and tape vetting by Aaron Kannowski.  It’s been designed by John Sellards and annotated by folk-rock guru Richie Unterberger.
by Randy Fairman, January 16, 2019 
Disc 1
1. Me And Bobby McGee (Fred Foster, Kris Kristofferson) - 3:46
2. The Pony Man - 3:33
3. If You Could Read My Mind - 3:50
4. Poor Little Allison - 2:32
5. Talking In Your Sleep - 3:00
6. Nous Vivons Ensemble - 3:45
7. Summer Side Of Life - 4:08
8. Love & Maple Syrup - 3:17
9. Beautiful - 3:25
10.Don Quixote - 3:41
11.That Same Old Obsession - 3:45
12.You Are What I Am - 2:37
13.Can't Depend On Love - 3:07
14.It's Worth Believin' - 3:25
15.Sundown - 3:41
16.Too Late For Prayin' - 4:17
17.Carefree Highway - 3:46
18.Seven Island Suite - 6:01
All compostitions by Gordon Lightfoot except track #1
Disc 2
1. Rainy Day People - 2:47
2. Cherokee Bend - 5:05
3. The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald - 6:00
4. The House You Live In - 2:55
5. Race Among The Ruins - 3:22
6. Protocol - 4:04
7. The Circle Is Small (I Can See It In Your Eyes) - 3:53
8. Sweet Guinevere - 3:19
9. Daylight Katy - 4:23
10.Hangdog Hotel Room - 2:40
11.Dreamland - 2:58
12.Songs The Minstrel Sang - 2:52
13.Dream Street Rose - 2:59
14.Make Way For The Lady - 3:44
15.If You Need Me - 2:53
16.Mister Rock Of Ages - 3:31
All Music and Lyrics by Gordon Lightfoot

*Gordon Lightfoot - Vocals, Acoustic, Twelve-String, Guitar, Vibraphone
*Rick Haynes - Bass
*Red Shea - Lead, Classical, Dobro Guitar
*Ry Cooder - Slide Guitar
*John Sebastian - Harmonica
*Nick DeCaro - Strings, Piano, Accordion
*Barry Keane - Drums, Percussion, Tambourine
*Terry Clemments - Guitar, Mandolin 
*Bruce Good - Autoharp
*Larry Good - Banjo
*Dave Brown - Percussion
*Ollie Strong - Steel Guitar
*Bob Thompson - Strings 
*Jim Gordon - Percussion, Drums
*Milt Holland - Percussion, Congas 
*Gene Martynec - Moog Synthesizer 
*Catherine Smith - Harmony Vocals 
*John Stockfish - Bass Guitar 
*Jack Zaza - English Horn, Recorder 
*John Stockfish - Bass
*Pee Wee Charles - Steel Guitar
*Junior Huskey - Bass
*Charlie McCoy - Harmonica
*Jack Zaza - Shaker, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, English Horn, Alto Flute, Harmonica, Harmonium
*Mitch Clarke - Bassoon
*Tom Szczesniak - Bass
*Doug Riley - Piano, Electric Piano
*Musicians Of Local 149 Toronto - Strings
*Gayle Levant - Harp
*Herb Pedersen - Banjo
*Bob Glaud - Bass
*Lenny Castro - Percussion
*Michael Omartian - Keyboards, Accordion

1966-67  Lightfoot! / The Way I Feel
1976  Summertime Dream