Thursday, October 19, 2017

Gordon Lightfoot: Endless Wire (1978)

The Who stole the title of this record! Well, it's likely that they were totally unaware of it. Anyway, the Allmusic critic hates this record:
"Endless Wire should have been called "Endless Touring Makes You Tired" for that is what these songs sound like. Lightfoot began going through the motions here, and although there are some good tunes here such as "Daylight Katy" and "Hangdog Hotel Room," others appear to be weary without being arranges as such. He even re-records "The Circle Is Small" without any better results than the original. The downward slide had begun." [source]
I like this record very much. It's far better than the critic from Allmusic believes. Perhaps they should listen to it again.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Gordon LIghtfoot: Summertime Dream (1976)

Summertime Dream, Lightfoot's twelfth record, was clearly his peak, and that largely had to do with the mega hit The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. It's interesting to note that this tune hit number 1 in Canada and number 2 in the USA, despite it being 6:32 long, though the single version was edited down to 5:57. It defied the logic that singles must be three minutes. Lightfoot as never again so popular, though I think he held on to his loyal fans.

This is a good record filled with good tunes.

I can't mention The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald without also mentioning the Rheostatics, who recorded an impressive cover version of this song.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Gordon Lightfoot: Gord's Gold (1975)

I'll just quote Wikipedia:
Gord's Gold is a compilation album released by Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot in 1975. Originally a vinyl double album, it was reissued on CD in 1987 (with one track, "Affair on Eighth Avenue", omitted to allow the collection to fit onto a single disc).

It was the first Lightfoot compilation to feature music from his 1970s Reprise Records albums, and also includes re-recordings of his 1960s United Artists hits (tracks 1-10). This served to update the earlier recordings to the same style as his later work and gives the album a level of consistency often lacking in similar compilations. Lightfoot's reasons for re-recording the United Artists tracks were explained in the liner notes as being because "he doesn't like listening to his early work".

Despite covering only the first decade of his career (and lacking one of his biggest hit singles, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", which was recorded the following year), Gord's Gold has remained the most commercially popular Lightfoot compilation. In 1988 Lightfoot released a second volume, Gord's Gold, Vol. 2, which also featured re-recordings of earlier hits. [source]
That says it all.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Billy Bragg & Joe Henry: Shine A Light, Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad (2016)

This is a hit and miss collection. In other words, some tunes are great and some are not. I love the idea of the project:
In March 2016 Billy Bragg and Joe Henry, guitars in hand, boarded a Los Angeles-bound train at Chicago’s Union Station looking to reconnect with the culture of American railroad travel and the music it inspired. Winding along 2,728 miles of track over four days, the pair recorded classic railroad songs in waiting rooms and at trackside while the train paused to pick up passengers. [source]
But, the results, as mentioned, are mixed.

Gordon Lightfoot: Cold on the Shoulder (1975)

Rainy Day People is the big hit from this, Gordon's 11th record. It's a song that makes me think of my dad. I remember him playing this record from time to time. I have no idea what happened to his old records.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Gordon Lightfoot: Old Dan's Records (1972)

This is the LP on which Gordon added some country sound. I am not a fan of country music, with some exceptions. I think this is still really a solid record, and I like it. Lightfoot has an engaging voice, so I can usually listen to anything that he recorded. There are no huge hits on this record, but it did win a Juno in 1974, for some bizarre reason.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Gordon Lightfoot: Did She Mention My Name? (1968)

For me, the centerpiece of this record is the political song Black Day in July, a song about the Detroit riots in 1967. This song was banned in the USA. Go figure. Some of you might know that the Tragically Hip covered this tune on the album Beautiful: A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot. Lightfoot songs remind me of my father. He had a few Lightfoot records in his collection.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Gordon Lightfoot: Lightfoot! (1966)

Gordon Lightfoot is one of the few artists whose records can sometimes be found at thrift stores. His records are worth picking up, unlike those of Anne Murray and James Last. I have to note that some thrift stores have increased prices to stupid amounts for giant piles of crap. I've seen moldy, scratched-up records that should have been melted down. I've also seen 7" 45 RPM records with price stickers applied directly onto the groves. There are other thrifts shops who have hired a record expert to examine everything (you know, remove the good stuff) before it hits the floor, thereby denying the thrill of finding something cool at a thrift shop. I also suspect that some employees might be holding things for themselves, but who knows if that is true? I rarely even bother to go in anymore.

But, back to Lightfoot, a true Canadian icon. He is probably best described as folk, but there are hints of country music, which interests me far less. Lightfoot is probably in the top five of best Canadian songwriters, after Leonard Cohen, Bruce Cockburn, and Neil Young, of course. Some might add Joni Mitchell. A long list of artists have covered his songs. One of the first covers I recall hearing was Olivia Newton John's rendition of If Your Could Read My Mind, a song I hated with a passion, until I heard Lightfoot's original. My brother had Olivia's record - If Not For You - on 8-track, and he played it over and over. I know she is dealing with cancer, and I hope she overcomes it. I was never a fan.

But, back to Lightfoot. His debut, recorded in 1964, was released in 1966. This record was released in mono and stereo versions. I have the stereo version. It contains two of his biggest hits, Early Mornin' Rain and Ribbon of Darkness. It's not a bad record for certain Sunday mornings.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Liars: Mess (2014)

I've head that Thom Yorke, of Radiohead, is a fan of this LP and maybe of the band. It's a distant memory. First things first: I got this on sale, for about $9. It's a double LP that also has a CD inside. This is not a valuable record, but that was still a good price. Is it electric dance punk?

I'm not going to say much else: just listen:

Friday, October 06, 2017

Jona Lewie: On the Other Hand There's a Fist (1978)

Now, here is a situation where the record company effed with the contents of this record, and it may have paid off. The single, (You'll Always Find Me In The) Kitchen At Parties, was not included on the original UK pressing, but it was added to the Canadian pressing, released two years later, in 1980. There are some other changes to that record too. I guess it took that single to prompt the record company to release it in Canada (and the USA, for that matter).

This song had a lot of caché back in the day, at least in my crowd. Anyone who has ever been to a house party knows that there is lots of truth in this song. The kitchen is often the place to be. I'm not sure if it is the ready access to alcohol or the fact that the kitchen is often quieter. It seems that so many people are always flooding into the kitchen to refill glasses, that they get stuck there. Although this was a thing in high school, there was also a need to find an empty room for you and your friend.

I do still hang out in the kitchen at parties, but sometimes, I just need to sit down on the couch.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Level 42: Heaven In My Hands (1988)

Here we have three version of the titular track, plus Gresham Blues. I am sure that I have never played this 12" single.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Level 42: Staring at the Sun (1988)

I pick this up in a $1 bin or a thrift shop ages ago and never played it. I'm wasn't even sure I have ever heard any of the tracks on the record. But, then I looked for an accompanying video on youtube and realized that I had heard Heaven in My Hands. But, here's a different song.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Level 42: Running in the Family (1987)

Although I purchased this record when it came out, I had already started to lose interest in the band. Allmusic says this:
"By Running in the Family, Level 42 had almost completely thinned out their early jazz-funk and soul roots in favor of a radio-friendly keyboard pop with a light R&B vibe. The sound lies somewhere between Kool and the Gang and early Tears for Fears. But if early fans might have felt betrayed by the new direction, the band's newfound aptitude for attention-grabbing hooks and airtight instrumental polish attracted more than enough new fans to replace them." [source]
Yes, I agree. Lessons in Love and the title track were big hits, if I remember correctly. I don't mind those songs, but it's a step down from World Machine.