Early Morning Rain is a budget-line, 12-track sampler of Lightfoot's early recordings,
featuring versions of "Early Morning Rain," "The Last Time I Saw Her,"
"I Want to Hear It from You," "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,"
"Did She Mention My Name," "The Way I Feel" and "Does Your Mother
Know." There are better collections of this material, but this is still a fine
selection. -- Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All-Music Guide
Gordon Lightfoot is one of Canada's finest and best-known
musical exports. A powerfully persuasive folk balladeer, a singer and writer of uncommon
gifts, his music has proven immensely popular with listeners, like him, raised on folk
music. Over the last two decades and more he's graced us with large numbers of memorable
songs, many of them among the finest and most popular efforts of the folk music movement,
and his recordings - some of the best of which are included here - have given, and
continue to give pleasure to millions.
Born in Orillia, Ontrario, in 1938, Lightfoot first took up piano, which he performed
locally for some years before studying orchestration at Los Angeles' Westlake College.
Returning to Toronto, he worked for several years as an arranger and producer of
commercial jingles before falling under sway of Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs and other
writer-performers of the early 1960s folk music scene. Inspired by them, he switched to
guitar, began performing folk music in local coffeehouses and soon was writing his own
songs, which fused country and folksong influences.
We heard his songs, in fact, before we heard him. Peter, Paul and Mary recorded his For
Lovin' Me and Early Morning Rain, enjoying chart success with both, and
other performers, including Ian & Sylvia, recorded these and other of his songs. The
way thus paved for him, in 1966 Lightfoot began recordung an impressive series of solo
albums. From the start he enjoyed great success, for listeners took him immediately.
Singing with great distinctiveness in a string, rich baritone, Lightfoot performed his own
songs better than anyone, with knowing authority and naturak expressiveness, and he moved
from strength to strength as his reputation gew.
As this album of the best of these recordings show so clearly, the songs he wrote were
utterly marvelous, greatly appealing in their singing, melodic warmth, romantic without
ever being maudlin, lyrically trenchant, deeply moving and, above all, direct and
upretentious, with never a false note sounded. And no matter what their subject - the joys
and dissapointements of love, the pain of separation, nostalgic feelings for home and
past, even the larger issues of injustice and social unrest - his songs spoke to us with
an almost conversational truth-saying eloquence, touching us with their sincerity and
power. These are the songs we grew up with: For Lovin`Me and Early Morning
Rain, of course, along with other familiar Lightfoot classics, Did She Mention My
Name, I Want To Hear It From You, Ribbon Of Darkess, The Last Time I Saw Her, Wherefore
& Why, I'm Not Sayin' and The Way I Feel. You'll know them all - they're
among the best loved popular folk-based songs Lightfoot's ever written and, thanks to
digital remastering, sound better than ever!