by Wayne Francis
It was 1967. The Beatles were immersed in the psychedelia of Sgt.
Dylan was living in seclusion in upstate New York recovering from his
accident the previous year. Dylan, ever the trend-setter would
emerge with a new album until the following year, 1968 and when he did
was much expected that he would attempt to top the Beatles at their own
and take pyschedelia one step further. But no. He instead
the country-folk-tinged "John Wesley Harding" album. And it
the Beatles' sound he sought to challenge, but instead he wanted a
rooted firmly in the songwriting tradition. And during his year
along came an album by an ultimate troubadour - Gordon Lightfoot's "The
I Feel". Dylan was quoted as saying he wanted to go for the
sound Lightfoot acheived on "The Way I Feel". He went as far as
the same drummer, Ken Buttrey and multi-instrumentalist, Charlie McCoy
Lightfoot had employed on his "The Way I Feel". The ultimate
from the greatest contemporary songwriter, Dylan, to his fast
When the confident opening 12-string notes introduce Walls, it quickly
evident that Lightfoot has had a productive couple of years since he
his first album, Lightfoot! and he's hitting his stride as a performer
stepping beyond the "songwriter-only" label that had been his first
on the music industry.
The writing, singing and playing on "The Way I Feel" is
remarkable! Songs as diverse as the timeless "A Minor Ballad" to
the Byrdesque arrangement on "The Way I Feel" to the poignant "Home
From The Forest", Lightfoot is showcasing
the boundless talent for writing that he would continue to mine for the
than 30 years since.
Beautiful songs of love and regret such as "Song For A Winter's Night"
Lightfoot in a position of being the chronicler of the plight of every
and woman who have known, and lost love. And just as effectively
captured the restless beauty of the wild and boundless country he was
to and came to epitomize. "Crossroads" and his masterpiece, the
Railrod Trilogy" proving the point.
It's not hard for me to recall hearing this album when it was new and
marvelling at the discovery of it all! And now looking back, I also
marvel that someone as brilliant as Bob Dylan obviously had done just
the same, making the same discovery. Psychedelia has come and
gone, trends changed with the seasons,
but Lightfoot continues to be the true original, steering his own
for others to follow. Enough said!