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Out of the Lightfoot Closet

April 7th, 2008 · 5 Comments · Music, The Partly Dave Show

Gordon Lightfoot’s mindI just discovered that talented local singer-songwriter John Greenfield — who, by way of mentioning it, performed in the second-ever edition of The Partly Dave Show back in 2003 — has an eloquent writeup of a recent Gordon Lightfoot show in Waukegan over on Gaper’s Block.

I suppose I’ve been a Gordon Lightfoot fan since I was old enough to fall in love with Peter, Paul & Mary’s version of “Early Mornin’ Rain.” And I always loved “Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald.”

But sometime in the late 80s my sister taped me a copy of his If You Could Read My Mind album, and that’s when I really became a fan. Aside from its hummably ubiquitous, made-for-car-radio title track, that album in particular is just loaded with beautifully written, gracefully played songs like “Sit Down Young Stranger,” “Approaching Lavender,” “Minstrel of the Dawn,” “Poor Little Allison,” and “Cobwebs & Dust.”

Gordon Lightfoot is one of those artists you can get razzed a lot for liking if you’re impolitic enough to admit it in the wrong crowd, probably because he got lumped into that execrable “easy listening” category in the 70s, considered a half-step away from elevator music, rather than being understood as the venerable old folkie he is. And of course folk music itself doesn’t get the respect it should in a lot of quarters.

Well, fortunately, I’m old enough to no longer care how razzable any of the music I like is, because I’ve learned over time that whoever is razzing you usually has something so odious lurking in their own musical drawers that their critique is likely to dissolve in the early mornin’ rain once you turn the tables. Sort of the musical equivalent of picturing them in their underwear, a la Marcia Brady. (Come to think of it, I bet Marcia Brady liked a little Gordon Lightfoot now and again.)

As for Gord, he’s good as gold as far as I’m concerned.

In honor of the arrival of spring, I’ll leave you with some delicate floral notes:



5 Comments so far ↓

  • Jane Hyde

    Oh Dave, this is so fine, just lovely for a spring evening. I’ve loved Gordon for years but didn’t know these songs — the cattails and pussy willows and lavender — ah…. And as for carung what’s cool or what’s hot or not or what anyone thinks — not giving a fig for that is one of the joys of getting older. Your knees might start to ache, your teeth might even fall out! who knows what! — but you just don’t care at all about what’s cool or not .

  • Aaron

    Razzable music fact #1: “Sundown” was one of my favorite albums when I was a kid (I had lots of faves). Loved that song and “Carefree Highway.”

    Razzable music fact #2: I had every Captain & Tennille album they ever recorded. ALL of ’em. They’re still in storage somewhere, I think.

    Razzable music fact #3: I still have my copy of “The Muppet Movie” soundtrack on vinyl.

    Razzable music fact #4: Once my cousin and I lip-synched to Donna Summer’s “Sunset People” in front of my grandparents. I was wearing lipstick. They didn’t bat an eye.

  • Ocelopotamus

    Aaron, I have to insist that anything Muppet-related is inherently as cool as ice from outer space, and the exact opposite of razzable.

    Or, if someone does razz you about it, their razzing will just automatically fly back and wrap itself around their neck and strangle them.

  • Steve Sturm

    As long as we’re admitting razzable stuff, I ADORE lavender. There. I said it. I feel much better.

  • jim s.

    i don’t know if i’m a fan, but when i hear ‘if you could read my mind,’ i almost cry.
    what about england dan and john ford coley? jim croce? and, as a youngster, i was a HUGE barry manilow fan — even had a t-shirt with his face on a piano that i wore a lot. nothing wrong with that, eh? and i still appreciate the manilow.

    and they don’t fall into the razzable realm, because, well, if you don’t appreciate them there is no place for you in my life, but karen and richard carpenter occupy a place above all others.