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Pop - Released June 10, 1981 | 143 - Warner Records

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Originally released as Sit Down Young Stranger in the summer of 1970, this album was reissued under this name a few months later, as the song "If You Could Read My Mind" began its climb up the pop chart. The single peaked at number five, while the album reached number 12. It seemed as though "If You Could Read My Mind" was everywhere in the early months of 1971. Its appeal crossed genres and age groups, and its simplicity and acoustic arrangement fit in nicely with the burgeoning singer/songwriter scene then storming the airwaves and record stores. "If You Could Read My Mind" was not the first track released as a single from this album; Lightfoot's recording of Kris Kristofferson's soon-to-be-classic "Me and Bobby McGee," the only non-original in this collection, preceded it but barely dented the charts. The entire album is rich in the simple beauty of its folky melodies and personal lyrics. Lightfoot is accompanied here by his regular band of the time, Red Shea on guitar and Rick Haynes on bass. This trio is expanded on several cuts with Warner/Reprise labelmates Ry Cooder on bottleneck guitar and mandolin, John Sebastian on autoharp, harmonica, and electric guitar, and Van Dyke Parks on harmonium. In addition, there are subtle string arrangements by Randy Newman on two tracks, Nick DeCaro on three. This album fits in very well with the acoustic-based music being made at the turn of the '70s. Even so, the music here is timeless, still feeling and sounding great many years after its release. © Jim Newsom /TiVo
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Pop - Released March 20, 2020 | WM Canada

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Folk - Released October 4, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Records

Following the success of Sundown, Gordon Lightfoot continued his success by releasing a greatest-hits compilation. A double album (now a single CD), it contained the most popular songs from his Warner Bros. years on disc two, and he re-recorded many of his early songs for side one of record one. Although not as good, perhaps, as the originals, this did bring them up to date with his current sound style. Just about all the favorites are here (except "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," which hadn't been recorded yet when this set was put together and appears on Lightfoot's second volume of Gord's Gold), making this a good general overview of a strong talent. When Warner transferred the double LP to CD, "Affair on 8th Avenue" was dropped from the program to make the set fit on a single disc. Randy Newman arranged the orchestration on "Minstrel of the Dawn," by the way. © James Chrispell & Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Folk - Released July 14, 2009 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Lightfoot's commercial peak came with this album, which topped the U.S. charts, containing both the number one title song and the Top Ten hit "Carefree Highway." But songs like "Somewhere U.S.A." and "High and Dry" are textured, catchy folk-rock on a par with the better-known tunes. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Folk - Released July 14, 2009 | Rhino - Warner Records

With Summertime Dream, Gordon Lightfoot produced one of his finest albums, and wrapped up a six-year period of popularity that he would not recapture. Propelled by his second biggest hit, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," Summertime Dream summed up the sound that had served Lightfoot so well in his post-"If You Could Read My Mind" days. This distinctive sound featured Lightfoot's strummed six- or 12-string guitar complemented by Terry Clements' electric guitar lines and Pee Wee Charles' pedal steel guitar accents. The material here is excellent, and the singer's voice is at its strongest. Mixing upbeat songs like "Race Among the Ruins," "I'd Do It Again," and the title track with beautiful ballads such as "I'm Not Supposed to Care" and "Spanish Moss," Lightfoot and his band deliver a tasty smorgasbord of intelligent, grown-up music. As for "Edmund Fitzgerald," its continued popularity more than 20 years after its release attests to the power of a well-told tale and a tasty guitar lick. © Jim Newsom /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 1, 2006 | EMI - EMI Records (USA)

This double CD contains all four of the Toronto singer/songwriter's '60s studio albums (the live LP Sunday Concert, not included here, was also released in the '60s). On these records, his resonant vocals, lyrical ambition, and melodic strengths produced as close a rival to Bob Dylan as Canada ever fashioned during that decade, and foreshadowed work by other major Canadian singer/songwriters of the late '60s, such as Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Leonard Cohen. "Early Mornin' Rain" (covered by fellow Canadian folkies Ian & Sylvia), the folk-rock protest number "Black Day in July," the epic "Canadian Railroad Trilogy," and his cover of Ewan McColl's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" are all present, and are among the most popular tracks Lightfoot has issued during his long career. Featuring both acoustic and folk-rock recordings, this neatly bundles Lightfoot's early work into a listenable and fairly inexpensive package. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Folk - Released January 1, 1966 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

Lightfoot was already 27 at the time of his solo debut, which might have accounted in part for the unusually fully developed maturity and confidence on this recording, in both his songwriting and vocals. Contains some of his best compositions, including "Early Mornin' Rain," "I'm Not Sayin'," "The Way I Feel," "Lovin' Me," and "Ribbon of Darkness." At this point, Lightfoot was still including some covers in his repertoire, and he handles numbers by Phil Ochs ("Changes"), Ewan McColl ("The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"), and Hamilton Camp ("Pride of Man") well. The whole album is included on The United Artists Collection. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Folk - Released March 16, 2010 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Folk - Released May 6, 2016 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released June 21, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released June 24, 1994 | Warner Records

Once you find a formula that works, why not try it again? That is just what Gordon Lightfoot does on Cold on the Shoulder. He doesn't vary from his success of the Sundown album by much, although some of these new tunes are a little more upbeat. Highlights include the hit "Rainy Day People" and the title track. Not another watermark, as it's sort of a holding pattern, but nothing bad about it either. © James Chrispell /TiVo
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Folk - Released July 14, 2009 | Rhino - Warner Records

Lightfoot's commercial peak came with this album, which topped the U.S. charts, containing both the number one title song and the Top Ten hit "Carefree Highway." But songs like "Somewhere U.S.A." and "High and Dry" are textured, catchy folk-rock on a par with the better-known tunes. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Folk - Released May 23, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Records

Perhaps one of his most Canadian releases, Don Quixote is a very pleasant folk sounding album. From "Alberta Bound" to "Christian Island" to "Ode to Big Blue," Lightfoot pays tribute to the many and varied places that make up his homeland. Also of note are such love songs as "Beautiful" and the lovely "Looking at the Rain." All in all, there's not a bad cut here. It's well worth your time. © James Chrispell /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 24, 1994 | Warner Records

Gordon Lightfoot's friendly folk sound grew even stronger on Summer Side of Life, an album that has him curling up with both his guitar and his kind, fragile voice. Even though the album that preceded it, 1970's Sit Down Young Stranger, fared better on the charts, Summer Side of Life followed in its footsteps, proving that Lightfoot was going to be around for quite a while. His approachable, confiding sound is best heard within the earnestness of the title track, and on the country bumpkin fritter of "Cotton Jenny," a song later covered by fellow Canadian Anne Murray. Lightfoot's singing rests lightly on his acoustic guitar, a trait that would become even more recognizable in his future work, but here it is found in tracks like "Same Old Loverman" and "Redwood Hill," and in the vagabond feel of "Go My Way." Not only do the songs begin to embrace his trademarked cottage country ambience on this album, but Lightfoot begins to reveal his love of Canadiana on tracks like "10 Degrees & Getting Colder," "Love & Maple Syrup," and "Nous Vivons Ensemble," which translates into "we all live together." With Gordon Lightfoot's honest, unhindered composure now becoming well-known in the U.S. and not just in Canada, Summer Side of Life helped strengthen his songwriting and refine his delicate vocal style, which, in turn, made 1972's Old Dan's Records and 1973's Don Quixote two of his best albums. © Mike DeGagne /TiVo
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Folk - Released August 20, 2002 | Rhino - Warner Records

A surprisingly strong collection from Gordon Lightfoot six years after the hits had stopped, Shadows finds him shedding his folksinger image for that of an adult contemporary singer. There are keyboard textures here where previously there had been all stringed instruments. The change obviously reflected the performer's attempt to remain contemporary, and though Shadows found no radio airplay and little sales, the music on this disc is very good, mature, and melodic. Songs like "In My Fashion" and "Heaven Help the Devil" sound like classic Lightfoot, built around folk song structures but more heavily orchestrated than in the '60s and '70s. "14 Karat Gold" sounds like a hit, while the title track and "All I'm After" are reminiscent of classic Lightfoot ballads like "Beautiful," with the acoustic guitar mixed up-front but augmented with tasteful keyboard colors. "She's Not the Same" borrows its introductory licks from "Down in the Boondocks," while "Triangle" harks back to the singer's lyrical story tales of old. Throughout this fine disc, Lightfoot's attractive baritone voice sounds great. Shadows is a little-known recording well worth checking out. © Jim Newsom /TiVo
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Folk - Released February 14, 2012 | Rhino - Warner Records

A country influence (via pedal steel) creeps into the arrangements on Old Dan's Records. A drummer is also included throughout, making this a much more contemporary-sounding album, as Gordon Lightfoot began to move away from his folk influences and into the pop/rock field. Sure, there still are the folk songs, such as "That Same Old Obsession," but this album was the seed planted that would flower in upcoming releases. A pivotal point in Lightfoot's career. © James Chrispell /TiVo
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Folk - Released April 1, 1967 | Capitol Records, LLC

Gordon Lightfoot had used additional guitar and bass on his debut, but for his second LP he went for a fuller band sound, using a couple of the noted Nashville sessionmen (Charlie McCoy and Ken Buttrey) who had played on Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde. The result was a brighter and more accessible sound, with the country elements more to the fore. The songs weren't quite as impressive as his first batch, but they were still very good, highlighted by the epic "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" and an electrified remake of "The Way I Feel." The whole album is included on The United Artists Collection. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Folk - Released January 1, 2003 | Capitol Records

The Gordon Lightfoot entry in EMI's Classic Masters series of discount-priced compilations is a typical effort and not much different from the numerous best-of releases previously issued from Lightfoot's five-album tenure on United Artists Records, 1966-1969. At the time, Lightfoot was better known as a songwriter than as a performer, and his UA recordings presented his own versions of such hits as "Early Mornin' Rain," "Ribbon of Darkness," "For Lovin' Me," and "Bitter Green" that had been popularized by others. All those tracks are here along with "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" and "Black Day in July," which gained exposure through Lightfoot's own performances. The other selections on the 12-song set (of which six were drawn from the singer's 1966 debut LP, Lightfoot!) are good, but in keeping with the songwriter focus, it might have been nice to include "The Last Time I Saw Her," "Steel Rail Blues," and "Wherefore and Why," all of which were Top 40 country hits, rather than, say, Lightfoot's cover of Ewan MacColl's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," even if it did precede the Roberta Flack hit version by several years. A curious, if perhaps temporary, marketing juxtaposition, however, made the album a doubtful purchase at least at first. At the time of the disc's release, the 1993 double-CD United Artists Collection, containing Lightfoot's first four UA LPs, was still in print and selling at the same $11.98 list price for which this album was selling. True, it contained two songs from the 1969 Sunday Concert LP not on the 1993 set. But if you were going to spend 12 bucks on an album of Gordon Lightfoot's UA recordings, why would you buy this skimpy one over the far lengthier United Artists Collection? © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 24, 1994 | Warner Records

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. © James Chrispell /TiVo
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Folk - Released January 1, 1968 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

Every '60s singer-songwriter of note expanded their instrumental approach as time went on, and Lightfoot was no exception. For his third album, he worked with John Simon (who would handle the Band and Big Brother), and occasionally used low-key orchestration. Though a tad more erratic than his earlier efforts, his songwriting remained remarkably consistent. His characteristically bright, uplifting outlook became more diverse as well, allowing for the chilling "Black Day in July" (written in response to the 1967 Detroit riots), the odd "Pussywillows, Cat-Tails" (an unusual and successful detour into baroque orchestral pop), and the ambiguous sobriety of "Does Your Mother Know." The whole album is included on The United Artists Collection. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo