DISCOGRAPHY

Gordon Lightfoot Album Reviews


EARLY LIGHTFOOT
by Wayne Francis

        I'd like to do some personal reviews of some of Lightfoot's lesser known recordings which are very difficult, if not next to impossible to find.  I'll start off with the infamous 1971 release of early 60's, pre-United Artists recordings - EARLY LIGHTFOOT.
        The album came out on the AME label in 1971, to capitalize on the recent success Lightfoot had with If You Could Read My Mind.  The album was cleverly released to appear as if it "might" be a new Lightfoot album, that is, an album of newly written and recorded material, as the cover photo was a then recent picture from 1970 Mariposa taken by Joan Latchford, not from the early 60's when the album was recorded.
        Well to say the "album" was recorded is not really accurate either, as it's really just a collection of singles Lightfoot did very early in his career for a label called Chateau Records, before he had even established his folk identity. Three of the songs on the album are released for the first time - This Is My Song (which turned up on the Two Tones At The Village Corner album - which I'll review later); Sleep Little Jane and Long Haired Woman.

Here is a rundown of the songs:

REMEMBER ME (I'M THE ONE)
Lightfoot
        This song made the Canadian charts when it was released as a single in the
early 60's.  It is a medium tempo Nashville type ballad, with the distictive country piano sound of that era.

DAISY DOO
Lightfoot
        A bit of a rocker, you might even say a toe-tapper, but more along the lines of some of Elvis' movie songs than what we'd later be tapping our toes to from Lightfoot.

ADIOS, ADIOS
Lightfoot/Hash
        A nice Spanish style song about a young man looking to be united with his lost love.  A forerunner of Miguel?

IS MY BABY BLUE TONIGHT
Lou Handman
        One of three cover songs on the album.  Lightfoot does an interesting job with this standard.

SLEEP LITTLE JANE
Lightfoot
        A tender lullaby, probably the most indicative song on this album of how Lightfoot's writing style and sound would eventually develop.

LONG HAIRED WOMAN
Lightfoot
        An uptempo tune with swirling organs and electric guitars.  "A long haired woman make a long time wreck out of me."  Kinda catchy really.

IT'S TOO LATE, HE WINS
Lightfoot
        Another mid-tempo "Nashville of the day" type of  song, like Remember Me (I'm The One). Nice melody, nice song.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Hoffman/Klein
        Very nice song, reminiscent of a 50's pop standard.  Lightfoot handles it well, too!

THIS IS MY SONG
Lightfoot
        This one got radio play in 1971 when this album came out here in Canada, which further confused the issue as to whether this album was new material or not.  You couldn't really blame Gord for being seriously annoyed!  Good song though, but light years removed from where Lightfoot was at in 1971.

NEGOTIATIONS
Les Pouliot
        Yes, that's right folks - Les Pouliot, the guy who later wrote the Harry Tracy theme, My Love For You.  Negotiations has to be heard, I couldn't begin to describe it, but just let me say, Gord does some "rap" on this one that the Fresh Prince might want to take some lessons from!  The song uses the Cold War as a metaphor for a failing relationship.  All very tongue-in-cheek.

        All in all, this album is a very interesting set when looked at from the historical standpoint of Lightfoot's earliest directions, before being transformed after hearing the Weavers At Carnegie Hall and other folk music which led him into that area of music, and ultimately a style uniquely his own.
        His voice is very rich and strong throughout this album.  The melodies seem to emphasize the mid to lower range of his voice. Probably because of that, I find that he sounds "older" than he would later sound on his UA stuff, which started to emphasize the upper register of his singing.