Sunday, June 23, 2013

Gordon Lightfoot - "Gord's Gold"

A very strong greatest hits compilation of Lightfoot's most popular recordings. Released shortly after his commercial peak with the album "Sundown" and featuring songs like "Carefree Highway," "Sundown" and "If you Could Read my Mind."

Lightfoot was one of the most popular singer/songwriters of the 1960s and 1970s.  Hailing from Canada, some considered him the closest thing to a Canadian Bob Dylan. Lightfoot focuses on mellow acoustic based songs with strong lyrics that often tell stories. His deep, warm and husky voice carries his tunes well and he has more vocal ability than Leonard Cohen or Dylan.

This collection covers basically the first ten years of his career. This period actually turned out to be the best part of his career as well. He would continue to write good songs and have a very dedicated fan following but his commercial popularity and creative abilities are at their best here.

Picking at least one song from each one of his albums from his 1966's debut "Lightfoot" to his 1975 hit "Cold on the Shoulder." His earlier songs have been re-recorded like "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" and also turned into medleys like "I'm Not Sayin'/Ribbon of Darkness" (John Denver did the same thing with his early songs on his Greatest Hits album). The versions are not drastically different, but the new recordings do make a number of the songs sound similar since Lightfoot's voice and style on the old songs sounds similar to the "new" songs.

Upon first listen the songs may all blend together (it is a 21 track album!).  But repeated listens will reveal the great nuance and quality of Lightfoot's music. Originally released in 1975 as a two record set,  to fit the album on one CD they deleted the song "Affair on 8th Avenue" (die-hard fans will complain about this omission for years). The CD has a short but nice booklet with an overview essay of Lightfoot's career and photos of his longtime band members. This is a great compilation for those unfamiliar with Lightfoot.  A 2002, 20 track CD called "The Complete Greatest Hits" is another option for those looking to get Lightfoot all on one album. That disc covers a larger period of time 1966-the 1980s and features the original versions of the songs. In the end it is up to you dear listener to see which compilation fits your needs. I like this one.