June 12, 1999
Lightfoot marks 61 with tour and 4-CD songbook
taken from the Vancouver
Canada's folk music icon, Gordon Lightfoot, is keeping a fairly full
schedule these days. Taking a brief break between legs of a long tour
that runs into next January, Lightfoot had just finished a successful
stint in the States.
"We were down on the Eastern Seaboard playing places from Boston to
Florida and, yes, the fans are still loyal as the halls were pretty much
full," stated one of the all-time greatest tunesmiths.
Lightfoot, who will be taking his quartet of longtime backing musicians
into Las Vegas for a date at the House of Blues on June 22.
"As a matter of fact, I was just restringing some guitars because
the boys are coming over for a rehearsal," continued the man whose
career was kicked into star status in the 1960s thanks to a string of
timeless tunes that started with For Lovin' Me and Early Mornin' Rain.
The summer leg of his tour coincides with the release of a four-CD box
The box is offered by Rhino Records out of Los Angeles, a label that has
a fabulous track record for compiling some of the most comprehensive and
well-documented career overviews.
The set, simply titled The Gordon Lightfoot Songbook, consists of 88
tunes, including 18 previously unreleased tracks. Some of the unreleased
gems are A Message to the Wind from '72, Mama Said, which was recorded
around the time of the Sit Down Young Stranger sessions in '69, plus
some newer tunes like Keep on Yearning, Lifeline and Forgive Me Lord
from the '80s.
Lightfoot, who is heading for his 61st birthday in November, has also
been keeping up with the new works of close friends and peers with whom
he started out back in the folk boom days of Toronto's Yorkville in the
"I give Ian's (Tyson) new album Lost Herd an A-plus. It's right up
there with Cowboyography and shows he's still up for the
challenge," figured Lightfoot before mentioning a new disc from
Rea, who lives near Seattle, at one time played with Lightfoot and Ian
"Have you heard David's Shorty's Ghost album? It's another A-plus
release and the best stuff he's done since he left Toronto to go work
with the guys in Mountain and Felix Papallardi, when he wrote
Mississippi Queen," raved Lightfoot of Rea's new disc that focuses
a lot on the acoustic blues of Robert Johnson.
Before signing off, the member of the Juno Hall of Fame mentioned he's
very much looking forward to hitting the Prairies again, another region
where he's always had a large following.
"The one thing the band and I are doing right now is working up a
live version of Ian's Red Velvet which I recorded on my last album, A
Painter Passes Through. We've got to have it in the set just in case he
shows up at the concert in Calgary," chuckled the legend, who
sounds like a pretty satisfied individual these days.