Gordon Lightfoot Album Reviews

by Noel Coppage - Stereo Review

        Lightfoot's "Sundown" for Reprise is a scrumptious summation of what else he has done; compared to what several other troubadours are doing, it's notably broad-shouldered, wide-brimmed, lean-hipped, and outdoorsy.  Lightfoot in a manly, ulcer-inviting way, bottles it up sometimes with lines like "that's how it goes."
        "Sundown" finds Lightfoot reunited with bass player John Stockfish, a regular with the troupe in the early days, but latter-day regular Rick Haynes is still around too, and both are great.  Lightfoot's songs are often keyed to the bass, and Lightfoot takes a direct no-nonsense approach to instrumentation.  His songs don't need anything getting in their way, anyhow, and these particular ones have quite a way about them; one after another, they are remarkable.
        "Too Late For Prayin'," an embarrassment of riches in itself, demonstrates how quietly remarkable they can be, but give yourself time and it will also demonstrate Lightfoot's uncanny ability to invent beautiful melodies and keep them simple, to say his piece in verses so graceful and economical that you can enjoy the flow of the syllables as many times as you like before settling down to what the words mean.
        "Circle Of Steel" is another such demonstration, and my other special favorite is "Somewhere USA," which has that long-legged pace that Lightfoot practically owns.  The title song is perhaps too simple, but its refrain - which will stay in your head for a month, and you have no choice in the matter - has three different wordings, including, "Sometimes I think it's a sin / When I feel like I'm winning when I'm losing again."