Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creator is Gordon Lightfoot:
It was late 1969 and I was at the Air Force Base Exchange. I found myself flipping through the records when I chanced upon an album called “Sunday Concert”. In those days, I had gotten into the habit of buying albums based on the cover art. The cover on the album was simple. It was a side view of Gordon Lightfoot on stage. It was a live album.
I liked the cover but I wasn’t sure who this Gordon Lightfoot was. Seems the name had come up before. Didn’t he write a Peter, Paul and Mary tune, “Early Morning Rain”? I checked out the songs. They had interesting titles and it looked like this Lightfoot guy was a folk singer.
This was in the days before Pandora and Spotify. If no one you knew had heard an artist, you took your chances. So I took my chances. Man, am I glad. I loved this Lightfoot and his “Sunday Concert”. Every song was a gem. Little did I realize that this was the last album he was to do for United Artist. His next album, “Sit Down, Young Stranger”, was on the Reprise label and it was a gem too. Had a big hit on it. “If you could read my mind”.
The Guess Who performing “Lightfoot”.
Gordon Lightfoot was something. He wrote great songs. He had a great voice. And he looked like what you would expect a troubadour to look. Over the years, I bought album after album of his as they were released. Twice I saw him in concert. And he’s still out there on the road, doing what a troubadour does.
In his honor, I wrote this lyric:
The ballading man
Spanish guitars play a South-of-the-Border song
On the stage the man sings out loud and clear
Of a land made great by sweat and by blood,
A rose in the wilderness of every man’s fear.
The songs the ways of the past almost forgotten:
Of love’s wisdom, of life, glory and death,
Of battles raging and courageous men,
Conquistadors, el dorado tales of fabulous wealth.
Children, gather ’round and hear a ballading man
Warm as a winter fire by a family hearth
Wild as mountain flowers in early spring,
A natural theology of every man’s worth.
Gordon Lightfoot, “I used to be a country singer”, written by Steve McEown.
And here is one of the my favorites. It’s “Don Quixote”, the title song from his second album on Reprise:
In this day and age, we need more Don Quixotes like this one.