Gordon Lightfoot Album Reviews

by Noel Coppage - Stereo Review
Recording Of Special Merit
Performance: Excellent
Recording: Excellent

        Few words of intriguing implication - words, say, sporting a positive and colorful mantle of romanticism - fit a performer better than troubadour fits Gordon Lightfoot.  Time has shown him to be the troubadour of this modern bunch, and his new "Cold On The Shoulder" album for Reprise - in addition to adding evidence that quality will surface and be recognized - shows how gracefully the consummate troubadour goes about the business of traveling, writing, and singing songs.
        It is a mellow album that rocks when the mood arrives, and some of it is just about timeless.  It is also much more varied than it at first appears; Rainy Day People is one type of song, and an almost classically elegant example of that type, and Bells Of The Evening, without fussing over its own individuality, is a fine example of an entirely different sort.  There's a magnificent children's song, Fine As Fine Can Be, that Lightfoot wrote for his eight-year-old daughter; its melody will give pickers, at least, some insight into the inventiveness Lightfoot brings to the basic, non-tricky, three-chord progression.  All The Lovely Ladies suggests a round; Lightfoot knows music inside out, you see.  Rainbow Trout puts the emphasis on lyrics ("She was all dolled up / Like a blue-eyed pup, / Lokkin' for somethin' to spill") to offer a glimpse of the whimsey in Lightfoot's sense of humour. And the detail work everywhere is as fine as fine can be.
        The singing is as usual, just what the songs want, and Clements, Shea, Haynes, and company, nicely assisted by Pee Wee Charles' steel guitar, do another tasty job with the instruments.  Only the first cut is a little flat, and the next-to-last one, Now And Then, is a little slow and overly tantalizing about the way it delivers.  But brace yourself, America, for one of those infrequent jolts of that thing grandparents lament when the handles of the new station wagons come off in their hands.  Quality, they call it.