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-   -   LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017 (http://www.corfid.com/vbb//showthread.php?t=28489)

formerlylavender 09-28-2017 10:21 PM

Re: Nicholas Jennings and Lightfoot
I enjoyed this. Thanks for posting!

paskatefan 09-29-2017 05:10 AM

Re: Nicholas Jennings and Lightfoot
What a great interview! Can't wait to receive our copy of the book - any day now!


Jim Nasium 09-29-2017 08:07 AM

Re: Nicholas Jennings and Lightfoot
Ordered the book from amazon.UK in May, got email yesterday, delivery date between Oct 25 and Nov 14. I assume it is now out in The States and Canada.

charlene 09-29-2017 11:00 AM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017
thanks for posting those! I got them onto FB yesterday but didn't have time to get on here...

charlene 09-29-2017 11:04 AM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017
AUDIO: Part 1 of 3 - NEW PHOTO OF The Lightfoot family when Gordy was a wee one..AUDIO at link: part 1 of 3 - interview with Nicholas Jennings and the writing of "LIGHTFOOT".. - Photo of Bev Lightfoot, Gordon Sr., Jessie Lightfoot and wee Gordy..




charlene 09-29-2017 12:07 PM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017

charlene 09-29-2017 12:26 PM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017
VIDEO: https://youtu.be/_IYHZoui9O0


hmmm..links don't open to show image... help!

imported_Next_Saturday 09-29-2017 04:46 PM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017

buzzard 09-30-2017 01:43 AM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017
These interviews are fantastic!

Very much looking forward to Part 3.

Thanks so much for posting this!


charlene 09-30-2017 10:05 AM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017
EXCERPT FROM THE NEW BOOK: https://www.thestar.com/entertainmen...ale-party.html

Lightfoot, Dylan and the wild Rosedale party

Read an excerpt from Nicholas Jennings’ new authorized biography of Canadian songwriter Gordon Lightfoot.

Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue — a touring band of sorts — was making its way around the U.S. and Canada in 1975. Likened to a “traveling Woodstock” it featured some of the era’s musical luminaries. When it came to Toronto, Dylan organized the concert for Maple Leaf Gardens. Here’s what happened December 1, 1975 — the night Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and others came to town.

Dylan had given Lightfoot an important slot in the show, right before his own final set. It took a long time for Lightfoot to come out; he was backstage tuning guitars, his usual pre-concert ritual. Baez, acting as emcee, entertained the crowd with her impressions of comedian Lily Tomlin’s best-known characters. Then, when it finally came time, Baez introduced Lightfoot. As he walked onstage, Lightfoot looked every inch the handsome hometown hero, clad in denim with sleeves rolled up, ready to work, the spotlight illuminating his blond curls. He’d started out a decade earlier, playing a small room at Steele’s Tavern, a few blocks away on Yonge Street. Now he had the prime spot at the hottest concert of the decade.

Backed by his usual sidemen, bassist Rick Haynes, guitarist Terry Clements and pedal steel player Pee Wee Charles, Lightfoot launched right into a brand-new song: “Race Among the Ruins.” It was his latest poetic take on a tumultuous romantic life. “The road to love is littered by the bones of other ones,” he sang, “who by the magic of the moment were mysteriously undone.” The audience loved it. Lightfoot’s songs always took listeners on a journey, drawing them into stories rich in emotion and without a trace of artifice. Next up, he sang “The Watchman’s Gone,” one of his many songs steeped in railway imagery. By the time he closed with “Sundown,” his taut tale of sexual jealousy, Lightfoot had everyone cheering wildly. The following night, he added “Cherokee Bend,” about injustices suffered by First Nations people, and finished with “High and Dry,” an upbeat number he liked to call a “toe-tapper.” Meticulously crafted, the songs were nonetheless instantly accessible and sounded entirely natural. With the audience screaming for more, Neuwirth stepped to the mike and urged Lightfoot back. Once again, a simmering “Sundown” enthralled the crowd. Both shows ended with Lightfoot and Mitchell joining tour regulars, friends and family, including Dylan’s mother, Beatty, for a jubilant round of Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.”

The December 1 show broke the four-hour mark. Everyone was ecstatic. Swept up in the euphoria, Lightfoot invited Dylan and the entire cast of more than seventy people back to his place for a party. The Rolling Thunder circus pulled onto Beaumont Road, a quiet cul-de-sac by a ravine in Rosedale. What took place in Lightfoot’s mansion was a rock-and-roll bacchanal. His blue-and-silver Seeburg jukebox was working overtime, pumping out a steady stream of Cream, Zeppelin, Doobies and Flying Burritos. Everyone was either drinking, snorting or inhaling something, and smoke floated freely about the sprawling house — past the grand piano, the slate billiard table and the Tiffany lamps all the way up to the master bedroom, with its Frank Lloyd Wright stained-glass window. The heavy consumption may explain why memories of the event are so fuzzy. Most people think there was one big noisy party; others believe there were two. Some recall one of Lightfoot’s friends, a six-foot-ten banjo player named Tiny, acting as security and greeting Mitchell, McGuinn, Rivera, Ronson and all the others as they arrived.

But almost everyone remembers Dylan’s buddy Neuwirth throwing his leather jacket into Lightfoot’s fireplace and filling the house with thick black clouds. Says Ramblin’ Jack, “Bobby was a very enthusiastic partier. I don’t remember all that transpired at Gord’s, because we drank to excess. But we were told we had quite a lot of fun.” Ronnie Hawkins, another Rolling Thunder addition, certainly recalls the fireplace incident. “Dylan was into drinking carrot juice at the time, and he and Neuwirth got into an argument. . . . Neuwirth just lost it and threw his jacket into the fire. It was like a smoke bomb going off.”

While revelry raged on the main floor, Lightfoot and Dylan were alone upstairs with their guitars, in a parlor room with a leaded bay window and floral wallpaper. Lightfoot had stripped down to a singlet, jeans and sandals. Dylan was still wearing his leather coat and fur hat. They seemed a mismatched couple, a study in contrasts. Here were two songwriters at the top of their games. But neither was comfortable in conversation, despite their friendship and mutual respect. Too guarded, or maybe too competitive. They did, though, share the common language of music. As others partied wildly below, Lightfoot and Dylan quietly traded songs. A recording made that night of Lightfoot playing Dylan’s “Ballad in Plain D” can be heard on the Renaldo and Clara soundtrack. A few photographs captured the historic exchange.

Each of them had started out the same way — alone in a room with a guitar, pencil and pad of paper. The discipline of that hard, solitary work created timeless songs that reached millions. Dylan had become the greatest songwriter of his era. Lightfoot was close behind. Although more workmanlike and straightforward, Lightfoot’s songs had an artful structure and poetic resonance that made them accessible in ways that Dylan’s weren’t. Both were highly prolific and idiosyncratic. After selling out the largest venue in the city, attracting a constellation of music’s brightest stars and hosting a fabulously decadent party, all these two artists wanted to do was retreat to a room and trade songs over acoustic guitars. For Lightfoot, as for Dylan, it was always about the song.

Excerpted from Lightfoot by Nicholas Jennings. Copyright 2016 Nicholas Jennings. Published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

charlene 09-30-2017 10:18 AM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017

As you turn the pages of this engaging authorized biography of Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot, it becomes obvious why it has taken so long for such a book to appear.

Its publicity-shy subject, the composer of such masterpieces as Early Morning Rain, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and Canadian Railroad Trilogy, has avoided any consideration of it.

He likely felt burned by the tough 1988 bio Lightfoot: If You Could Read His Mind, by the late Ottawa author and playwright Maynard Collins.

"I’m not worthy," Lightfoot told a Hamilton reporter in 1993, as though concurring with Collins’ clear-eyed treatment of the boozing, womanizing and often violent temper that dogged the singer-songwriter’s reputation in the 1970s.

"I’m humble to the point of feeling inferior most of the time."

Flash forward another 25 years, and Lightfoot — now scarily gaunt and thin of voice at age 78 — is likely tending his legacy.

He has co-operated with Toronto journalist and author Nicholas Jennings on a new life and times. Titled, simply, Lightfoot, it is much more thorough and generous, without ignoring the singer’s warts.

Jennings has done an excellent job of, among other things, teasing out the roots of his old friend’s chronic insecurities.

He traces them back to Lightfoot’s boyhood in Orillia, Ont. — also famous as the setting of satirist Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town — where small-town Scots-Presbyterian values took a dim view of anyone getting too big for their britches.

He captures the excitement of the Toronto folk scene in the ’60s when Lightfoot, always driven and focused, climbed the greasy pole of success, meanwhile seeking comfort in the bottle.

Alcohol, he felt, helped him write. It also let him enjoy the company of his musical contemporaries, many of whom he found "overwhelming."

Cathy Smith, Lightfoot’s live-in girlfriend for three years in the early ’70s and later notorious for injecting actor John Belushi with his fatal drug overdose, said that Lightfoot drank "more than any man I’d ever known."

By the late 1970s, he was often blitzed onstage. His name was dragged through Canadian papers after police stopped him for impaired driving.
In England in 1981, an audience booed after he insulted them. His hometown Orillia paper carried the headline "Brits Wish Gord Good Riddance."

Chastened and humiliated, he stopped drinking in 1982. He channelled his formidable willpower into a fitness regimen that continues, Jennings insists, to this day.

Jennings relates Lightfoot’s story in chronological order and without much editorializing — the latter something Collins couldn’t resist.

A longtime Maclean’s music writer, Jennings conducted many original interviews, including several with Lightfoot himself. He has also read Lightfoot’s voluminous clipping file, and credits his sources appropriately.

Needless to say, Jennings enumerates Lightfoot’s many triumphs as a songwriter and performer: a 300-plus-title songbook, 10 million albums sold and an artistic reputation up there with the likes of his fellow Canadian greats Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young.

And Lightfoot accomplished all this without leaving Toronto. Popular historian Pierre Berton, author of The Last Spike, once said, "You did more good with your damn song (Canadian Railroad Trilogy) than I did with my entire book on the same subject."

In the U.S., Lightfoot songs have been recorded by the likes of Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand and Johnny Cash. More than 300 acts have covered one song alone, If You Could Read My Mind.

Frank Sinatra changed his mind. "I can’t sing this," he said. "There’s too many words."

Jennings recounts Lightfoot’s passion for environmental issues and his love of wilderness canoeing. He often talks dollars and cents (no tag day needed for Gord) and documents Lightfoot’s health troubles.

In 1972, he dealt with a debilitating bout of Bell’s palsy, a paralysis of the facial muscles. More seriously, in 2002 he suffered an abdominal aortic aneurysm that nearly finished him. He was in an induced coma for six-and-a-half weeks. A smoker all his life, he now battles emphysema, the disease that killed his mother.

Nor does Jennings shy away from Lightfoot’s energetic love life. He has had three wives, numerous live-in girlfriends and has fathered six children.

Married or single, he was seldom alone on the road. He has spent the last 35 years atoning for his irresponsibility as a father and husband.

Lightfoot has known many of the famous musicians of his day, but the one who stands out for Jennings is Bob Dylan.

He opens the book with an anecdote from 1975, when the Bard of Minnesota was in Toronto with his Rolling Thunder Revue. Dylan and friends stopped by Lightfoot’s Rosedale mansion for a raucous party.

Their paths have always crossed. Despite their many artistic differences, Dylan and Lightfoot share a similar social awkwardness, not to mention a love of playing pool and a mutual regard for each other’s songs.

Moreover, Jennings emphasizes, they both live for the stage. Dylan has his Never Ending Tour, and Lightfoot plans to tour until he drops. These days, he takes a few hits from an oxygen tank at intermission.

He will back in Winnipeg at Club Regent on Nov. 3, two weeks after his 79th birthday.

Morley Walker is a retired Free Press arts columnist and books editor.

paskatefan 10-02-2017 05:12 AM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017
Our copy arrived on Saturday. I started reading it yesterday, and I can't put it down! So far I've read over 200 pages. I learned quite a few things I didn't know from before. Get this book!


Jim Nasium 10-02-2017 11:02 AM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017
Further to my last post, ref: delivery date of book, now 6th Oct. Have refrained from reading the above excerpts, prefer to wait for book!

New 12 String Mike 10-03-2017 02:49 PM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017
Hi folks!

I haven't posted for awhile, but I've just finished Jennings' book and thought I'd write up a thought or two about it.

I don't want to post any "spoilers" so I'll just say I throughly enjoyed it and it clarified and connected the dots on several things I'd been curious about. The descriptions about the meanings behind the songs will certainly add to the songs' appreciation by many fans.

That said, as a singer/guitarist myself, I was disappointed that there wasn't just a bit more in the book about Gord's song crafting, musicianship, instrument choices, etc. Granted, musicianship was not the purpose of the book, and it could probably require another book to give the subject its due, but I'd have liked to know a few things that I was hoping the book would cover. Such as, I've never figured out why Lightfoot has always used a capo on his guitars. A paragraph on that subject would have been enough. Oh well...

I encourage very fan to read the book, it will be time well spent.

T.G. 10-04-2017 02:09 PM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017

Originally Posted by New 12 String Mike (Post 190554)
I was disappointed that there wasn't just a bit more in the book about Gord's song crafting, musicianship, instrument choices, etc. Granted, musicianship was not the purpose of the book, and it could probably require another book to give the subject its due, but I'd have liked to know a few things that I was hoping the book would cover.

That's actually what I proposed to Gordon several years ago when I wrote to him with a book proposal. I thought he might go for avoiding the personal issues and focus on just the music, but I didn't hear anything back. Oh, well.

jj 10-04-2017 11:42 PM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017
i too am most interested in the stuff that's still not in 'the book' ... but some unearthed bits there, and some mix ups, oops... a couple of unseen pics to enjoy

imported_Next_Saturday 10-06-2017 04:52 PM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017

The poetry and wisdom of Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot
Two new biographies explore the lives of the Canadian music icons
Judith Timson
October 5, 2017


There’s something incredibly poignant in contemplating our aging musical heroes who have also turned out to be Canadian cultural giants, the ones who sang us to sleep at night when we were twentysomething and lonely, helped to mend our broken hearts, or became our spiritual guides as we figured out who we were.

Don’t misunderstand: younger fans have every right to think those songs are meant for them. They’re eternal. Still, we fans of a certain age claim them as our own. How many times did I, and every other woman of my era, play Joni Mitchell’s Blue album in the 1970s and, more than once, get hollowed out by those soul-scraping lyrics from “River”:
I’m so hard to handle

I’m selfish and I’m sad
Now I’ve gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had
O I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
How many nights did the loneliness of Gordon Lightfoot’s plaintive ballad “Early Morning Rain” reassure us that others, too, were far from where they wanted to be, “with a dollar in my hand, with an aching in my heart and my pockets full of sand.” Well, I don’t remember the sand part. But I was always metaphorically a long way from home.

Two readable new books out this fall—Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by American writer David Yaffe, and Lightfoot by former Maclean’s music critic Nicholas Jennings—seem perfectly timed not only to chronicle each artist’s life and creative journey but to help us understand and appreciate how much they gave to their art, and how much that art in turn has fed us.

Joni Mitchell, now 73, and one of the great musical geniuses—male or female—of the 20th century, has rarely been seen in public since she suffered brain trauma from an aneurysm in 2015. Gordon Lightfoot, 78, hailed as “Canada’s bard,” defined, through songs like “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” what Canada meant to many of us. He is still performing after recovering from his own medical crisis, an abdominal aortic aneurysm that nearly killed him in 2002.
Both artists have been rumoured, at times, to be dying or dead. Lightfoot, driving in his car, once heard his own obituary on the air (he thought it was odd they were playing one of his songs on all-news radio) and called in sensibly to deny his own death.

What should we call this period of their spectacularly creative lives? Post-iconic? With most of the tributes and honours already bestowed, each of these musical legends is free to carry on more private lives and intense conversations with their muses as we count our own inevitable changes.
Each singer has created memorable anthems, some deeply personal, others that stirred in us a new sense of who we were. As someone I know put it, which would you rather sing: “O Canada” or “A Case of You”? Consider one phrase from Yaffe, describing Joni Mitchell’s “years of bottled-up melancholy.” Of course that description could apply to most artists, including the legendary singer both Mitchell and Lightfoot have considered their pace-setter, Bob Dylan. He in turn has admired each of them, once writing about Lightfoot, “Every time I hear a song of his, it’s like I wish it would go on forever.”

Both artists became rich and famous, Lightfoot by staying home in Canada and Mitchell by flying away. As Chuck Mitchell, Joni’s first husband, points out in Lightfoot, they “came from modest backgrounds in small Canadian towns, and shared this survivalist notion to never go back to the restraints of their childhoods.”

Reckless Daughter and Lightfoot do a deep dive into their subjects. Author Jennings spent more than a dozen years interviewing the usually reticent Lightfoot, and thanks him for “entrusting his life story to me.”
Although Reckless Daughter is juicier (it’s about Joni after all, who turned confession into an art form), Jennings’ portrait of Lightfoot mirrors the man himself: it’s a slow reveal, and ultimately tells a full, satisfying story about a stubborn, often lonely man of few words who has never enjoyed explaining himself to the public.

In Reckless Daughter, Yaffe, a Texas-born critic and professor, is clear about his adoration of Mitchell’s work. The author, who interviewed Mitchell several times, writes of her mercurial temperament and unabashed certainty of her own musical genius—“she’s about as modest as Mussolini,” former lover David Crosby said. There are also Mitchell’s scathing put-downs of her peers.“There’s something la-di-da about her,” she sniffed about Judy Collins, who helped her to stardom by first recording “Both Sides Now.”

Roberta Joan Anderson was born in Fort Macleod, Alta., in 1943, the rebellious, artistic only child of straitlaced parents. She started smoking when she was nine. Her mother, Myrtle, once called her “a liar, a quitter and a lesbian.” She got pregnant in art school and gave her baby daughter up for adoption, a deep, bruising loss that sparked at least one song, “Little Green,” and a lifetime of regret. She would eventually reunite with her adult daughter in 1997, and though the relationship became tumultuous, she got to know her grandchildren.

Mitchell’s biggest subject would always be love, writes Yaffe, “even in its absence.” “I sing my sorrow and I paint my joy,” Mitchell once said, explaining the impetus behind her music—she started singing seriously in Toronto coffeehouses in the ’60s—and the exquisite paintings she has continued to do all her life. (cont.)

imported_Next_Saturday 10-06-2017 04:52 PM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017

The poetry and wisdom of Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot
Two new biographies explore the lives of the Canadian music icons
Judith Timson
October 5, 2017


In such seventies hits as “The Circle Game,” “Big Yellow Taxi” and “Help Me,” and in her innovative albums Blue and Court and Spark, Mitchell provided the soundtrack of our lives, winning eight Grammys, including a lifetime achievement award, in the process. Her male peers thought she was way too personal—“Oh, Joni, save something for yourself,” Kris Kristofferson told her—but she couldn’t be any other way. The result was both transcendent and bracing, or as Rolling Stone once put it, “a whole lot of Woman Truth.”

Yaffe depicts Mitchell as “a young woman dodging male authority in a man’s world.” Her male peers—among them Graham Nash and Neil Young—admired the way she tuned her guitar, her intricate melodies and, most of all, the words she wrote. Even the late playwright Sam Shepard, for whom she wrote the song “Coyote” after a brief flirtation, couldn’t get over a lyric like “I’ve got a head full of quandary and a mighty, mighty thirst.”

Yaffe offers some memorable scenes, among them Joni and Jimi (Hendrix) in an Ottawa hotel room in March 1967, trading notes on music sitting on the floor with a third musician, “like a campfire,” says Mitchell, before a hotel detective broke it up. Oh, Ottawa.

Mitchell has bravely made intense forays into jazz and taken other sophisticated musical detours that her fans and radio stations didn’t always appreciate. Blue, meanwhile, remains her biggest-selling album. Yaffe explains the pull of its soulful songs: “In every decade, in every age, there would be those who are sinking, those who needed to be reminded . . . you can make it through these waves.”
On the stage of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto in December 1975, amid stars like Joan Baez and Elton John, Lightfoot “looked every inch the handsome hometown hero,” Jennings writes. Not only would he have the crowd cheering as he sang “Sundown,” his “taut tale of sexual jealousy,” but there was a helluva party later that night at Lightfoot’s Beaumont Road mansion in Rosedale, site of many a rock-’n’-roll bacchanal, especially after Lightfoot’s sold-out yearly shows at Massey Hall.

Born in Orillia, Ont., in 1938, Gordon Lightfoot developed his love of singing before he was a teen, as a member of a United Church choir. He still sings in a Toronto church, once a year. “Throughout his life Lightfoot faced issues of sin, redemption and repentance and when reflecting upon himself, actually thought in those terms,” writes Jennings.

Time magazine once called him a “cosmopolitan hick.” While he played often in the U.S., he didn’t move there because “I was a bit of a homebody.” He made a lot of money here—buying up expensive Toronto real estate more commonly the habitat, says Jennings, of “stockbrokers, mining executives, the Bay St. boys.”

At the height of his fame, Lightfoot was drinking so hard it almost destroyed his career. At one point he was up to a bottle of Canadian Club a day. In the summers he would take long canoe trips, which also helped him dry out. He eventually stopped drinking.

He’s often been seen as socially brusque to the point of boorishness, and he’s agonized over it: “I’ve asked myself many times if the shyness is really arrogance  . . .  I’m sorry for every faux pas,” he told one interviewer.

Through broken marriages (three wives, six children) and the ups and downs of the music industry Lightfoot has had a “huge work ethic.” For Lightfoot, writes Jennings, “it was always about the song.” Work was his refuge, and it paid off in creating lovely, haunting songs (“If You Could Read My Mind” has been covered more than 300 times) that not only made him famous but were sung by some of the greatest singers of his time, including Elvis Presley and Barbra Streisand.

Stubbornness has been a mainstay of his career. In 1972, he was nominated for a Grammy for “If You Could Read My Mind,” but he refused to perform the song because the producers wanted its time cut, thereby missing “his chance to shine on music’s biggest night on television.” Still, shine he did. In 2000, the New York Times critic Ann Powers wrote after a concert at New York City’s Town Hall that Lightfoot was “a rugged guy who knows how to melt. The slow thaw defines his music and his enduring charm.”

Through health crises, music industry shakeups and periods when they were deeply undervalued or undone by their own demons, Mitchell and Lightfoot each kept doing the thing that sustained them—and us.

Perhaps the greatest gift of both Reckless Daughter and Lightfoot is that both books lead you right back to their music. Feels like you never left, only better.

imported_Next_Saturday 10-06-2017 05:01 PM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017
In addition to the article above, I added part 3 of the audio interview:

part 1 - https://soundcloud.com/fyimusicnews/...rtorial-part-1

part 2 - https://soundcloud.com/fyimusicnews/...part-2-revised

part 3 - https://soundcloud.com/fyimusicnews/...part-3-revised

Travis 10-07-2017 11:54 PM

Gold 2 in Jennings Book
I finished the Jennings book tonight. I've been up late every night unable to put it down. I was most impressed with the straightforward presentation of the material, and he definitely did a great job of making it "neither hagiography nor a hatchet job," as he said he would.

I wanted the book to be at least 50% longer, just because I want to know more. At times
I couldn't understand why he'd described this or that concert, which I guess made me assume he must have been there and wanted to talk about it.

I wanted a bit more commentary on each album overall, but what surprised me the most was that Gold Vol 2 was completely skipped over, as if it never happened. Gold 2 isn't my favorite, because I think every original album recording is better than the 1988 remake. (Whereas I think he improved most of the songs he re-recorded for Gold, which is saying a lot!)

Anyone have any idea why Gold 2 would be completely overlooked? Jennings explains why he did new recordings for Gold. Why for Gold 2?

charlene 10-09-2017 07:09 PM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017
Ralph Benmergui interview:

jj 10-11-2017 06:28 PM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017
probably old news, but for the troopers who battle rain and cold to mingle, the official book launch is this evening

charlene 10-12-2017 04:58 PM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017
wasn't raining - just a spitter spatter for a few moments.. ! thankfully!

I was invited by the author, Nicholas Jennings, to the book launch of the fabulous new authorized biography, LIGHTFOOT. I attended with my daughter Lisa and it was a fabulous evening in TOronto at The Pilot on Cumberland. It was great to spend a few moments with GOrdon and many others.. It was super exciting for me to meet Sylvia Tyson!! We got lots of signatures in our books!

The place was buzzing with Gordon's family (Fred and his wife and daughter, nephew Steven Eyers, daughter Ingrid, daughter Meredith, and wife Kim), band members (RIck and his wife, Carter and his wife and Barry and his wife), musical peers, media folks (Lloyd Robertson, Liz Braun, Bruce Cole) and fans. Jane Harbury, Sylvia Tyson, Liona Boyd, Denis Donlon, Loraine Segato, Mark Jordan, Bernie Fiedler, Al Mair attended as well. Performances/band - The Good Brothers, Jory Nash, David Woodhead, David Matheson, Lori Cullen, Jason Fowler.

Thank you to Nicholas for giving me a "shout out" in the book and inviting me to the launch. And most of all thank you for being the wonderful person Gordon trusted enough to allow this book to be published now. I took some video and have a few pics..It was crowded, dark and noisy so they aren't optimal as if at a concert! I have assembled the videos into a playlist at:


jj 10-12-2017 09:48 PM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017
hey, glad the weather held and that there was a good turnout... it is so great you trek into the heart of the city for so much stuff, and also capture snippets for folks far & wide, via pics, etc... there should be a book about all that alone:) ... i'd good intentions but will apologize to steve this weekend when he's out here. never met fred and liona, very cool:) ... stockfish, shea, harvey, terry, rea, jessie, gord sr. and many other there still is spirit ... looking forward to the autobiography that takes us on a musical ride .... this has raised the bar to where it belongs, congrats to all:clap:

charlene 10-12-2017 10:22 PM

Re: LIGHTFOOT by Nicholas Jennings - Sept.2017

The reluctant Gordon Lightfoot is finally chronicled in Nicholas Jennings's biography
Gillian Turnbull: Does Lightfoot's relenting to his life immortalized in book form herald the end?

336 PP; $36

I’m a longtime admirer of music journalist Nicholas Jennings. It was therefore no surprise to me that he was the one to finally lock Gordon Lightfoot into the series of interviews that became the singer’s biography. Simply titled Lightfoot, the book takes its place among the current spate of biographies that are the setting sun’s final rays on boomer music. Can we finally acknowledge that the ’60s are over? Does Lightfoot’s relenting to his life immortalized in book form herald the end? After all, his career peak began 50 years ago this year, with his centennial song “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” marking a significantly different nationalist fervour than was felt at this moment of our 150th birthday.

Lightfoot arguably comes at a time when old musicians’ legacies are perpetually on our minds. In any given week over the last two years, a rocker’s death has fought for headline space against books and films documenting music by his or her (mostly his) contemporaries. No wonder: the ’60s and ’70s were something of a golden era to be a musician. You could actually make money, or develop your craft through a four-album deal, as Lightfoot did many times over. You didn’t have to fight against the noise of everyone else on Bandcamp or YouTube – or be your own publicist, booking agent and recording engineer in equal measure.

Still, it’s difficult to convince anyone under 40 that Lightfoot and his contemporaries have something to offer us now; their gentle ruminations on heartbreak in an empty Canada hardly reflect the desperation most of us feel just to survive contemporary urban life. When I play Lightfoot, Ian Tyson and the other folkies of the period to my undergraduate students, I feel like I’ve accidentally passed them a pillow and a bottle of whiskey and set them in snooze mode.

If it isn’t already obvious from this review’s opening, I expected to be bored by this book. I grew up with Lightfoot occasionally on in the house (a famous picture in our family shows my mother dancing with her date to “Beautiful” at her graduation), so I was well aware of his extraordinary songwriting and guitar-playing talent. He’s Canadian through and through, despite his push to subvert industry attempts to elevate Canadian musicians above American exports through the Can Con regulations. Too bad, he said, my music will rise to the top despite, not because, of its Canadianness. Lightfoot nevertheless remained in the country, settling for a somewhat benign existence in comparison to his rock colleagues, focusing more on songwriting and annual canoe trips than partying hard.

Or did he? In the tried-and-true formula of the Great Man Rock Biography, Jennings uncovers what we already sort of knew about Lightfoot: he was a drunk prone to fits of anger that sometimes pissed off audiences, demolished his relationships and alienated him from his children. This same aggressive self-determination forged the drive that makes up the other half of the Rock Biography: it’s okay to be a jerk if you’re producing great material. As such, the book follows the familiar trajectory of naked ambition to start, unexpected and overwhelming fame next, followed by descent into substance abuse oblivion, and finally our favourite: redemption.

I should clarify, however, that I wasn’t bored. Jennings as always is a master storyteller, and I’ve read few books faster than Lightfoot. His deft manipulation of narrative, told in clear language, draws the reader in immediately – and though he doesn’t hold back in his most negative portrayals of the singer, his voice is present without detracting from the person at the centre of the book. Jennings’s true gift might be his ability to slowly reveal Lightfoot to us – over the course of the book, the complexity of his character emerges, through a peeling away of the many layers the notoriously reticent singer has kept hidden. Ultimately, we discover that Lightfoot’s abrasiveness is contrasted by a deep sensitivity and generosity. I’ve never come close to disliking any of Jennings’s offerings, and he is undoubtedly a chief Canadian music historian.

We can also argue Lightfoot is one of our principal talents, his poetic descriptions of nature and elaborate guitar-picking style producing a body of work that in many respects outshines his counterparts. But what role does the music biography serve at this point, when the narrative is so similar that the characters are merely swapped out and all else remains unchanged? Are we merely comforting ourselves about a music industry that once actually rewarded its talent by reading these books? In Jennings’s case, it’s more than that. We are no doubt trying to better know our heroes in a personal way. And perhaps that is the best reward for Lightfoot fans who have waited for so long: Lightfoot is your chance to finally know him deeply.

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