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Old 02-16-2000, 10:10 PM   #1
onchord
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I've been a fan for a very long time. First Lightfoot song I ever heard (The Old Man Returns from the Forest)was sung by a classmate in our High School cafeteria in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Without ever having met my reclusive old relative who'd spent most of his life in the bush, Lightfoot had eternalised the old fellow. I knew at that instant that Lightfoot had his finger on the pulse on the elusive nature of "Canadian Identity". Time and again in the past 30 years his songs have confirmed this. Whenever one of my four children has asked the inevitable question: "What is the Canadian Identity?" (as they invariably have done when taking Grade 11 history), I've handed them my collection of Lightfoot LPs and locked them in a room with the old turntable!

Saw Gord perform live at the Pular in Sault Michigan circa 1969. Have recently introduced him to my daughter and cannot answer a simple question. HELP!
Why is the "Trilogy" - a trilogy?
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Old 02-16-2000, 11:05 PM   #2
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Isn't a triology because it essentially has three distinct parts to it? Almost three seperate songs? That was always my understanding anyway. Now I've spent way too much time at this site today, so that's all!

chris

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Old 02-16-2000, 11:08 PM   #3
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My understanding is the same, but I have never heard anything on the subject, it is just an assumption I made. If you listen to the song, you hear three very separate parts, thus making it a trilogy. I could be wrong, as I said just an assumption....

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bottles, beads and cigarettes and lovers that i ain't found yet. Picking with a friend 'til dawn, singing all those hi'way songs.
-GL

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Old 02-16-2000, 11:08 PM   #4
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My understanding is the same, but I have never heard anything on the subject, it is just an assumption I made. If you listen to the song, you hear three very separate parts, thus making it a trilogy. I could be wrong, as I said just an assumption....

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bottles, beads and cigarettes and lovers that i ain't found yet. Picking with a friend 'til dawn, singing all those hi'way songs.
-GL

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Old 02-17-2000, 08:15 AM   #5
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Hey guys and gals! Read your Songbook booklet. Here is what GL has to say about the "Trilogy" and why he wrote it that way (fast part at the beginning and end; slow part in the middle):

'1/9. CANADIAN RAILROAD TRILOGY

Written on commission, and it worked out very well. I played it for the CBC guy [Bob Jarvis] live at his desk before I recorded it. This was part of a two-hour special that was played on New Year's afternoon. I got the idea to write it long from a mentor of mine named Bob Gibson, who is a major figure in the folk revival. He had written a song called "Civil War Trilogy," which had a slow part in the middle, and I followed that pattern. Without a piece of input like that, I probably wouldn't have been able to approach the song on that basis. The song says a lot. Canadian author Pierre Berton said to me, "You know, Gord, you said as much in that song as I said in my book [about the building of the railroad across Canada]." I appreciated the compliment.'

(Taken from Songbook liner notes, online at the Rhino web site)

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Old 02-17-2000, 10:40 AM   #6
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Ah well, a simple trip across the room to my CD's could have resolved, but, alas, I am lazy. Thanks for clearing it up.
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Old 02-17-2000, 10:40 AM   #7
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Ah well, a simple trip across the room to my CD's could have resolved, but, alas, I am lazy. Thanks for clearing it up.
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Old 02-17-2000, 08:11 PM   #8
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Thankyou all!

So..... the three parts, or trilogy, are within the song ..............
Blonde! :0)

Was GL commissioned to write it for Canada's Centennial in 1967?
Who by???

I had heard he was commissioned to write the Edmund Fitz, after the sinking,
and understood he had studied a variety of nautical balllads ...... eg the
writings of Garnet Rogers and those who came before Garnet.

Anyway..............

I am sue............. GL fan ........but not near to the fan status of the rest
of this crew. Simply put - I've enjoyed his music for a long time without ever
knowing much about the man.

I'm glad I found you guys and I appreciate the help you have given me re: this question. Now I can answer my daughter.

Valerie, thanks for the directing us to the Rhino web site. Gosh, who would
have thunk that someone who fed our dreams would be material for an ISU???

Goodness, I feel old

"onchord" for something my University room-mate and I promised ourselves
and never fulfilled - to see - together - "Gord On Chord"! Godbless my friend
Sue - wherever life has taken her.

the other sue
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Old 02-17-2000, 08:11 PM   #9
onchord
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Thankyou all!

So..... the three parts, or trilogy, are within the song ..............
Blonde! :0)

Was GL commissioned to write it for Canada's Centennial in 1967?
Who by???

I had heard he was commissioned to write the Edmund Fitz, after the sinking,
and understood he had studied a variety of nautical balllads ...... eg the
writings of Garnet Rogers and those who came before Garnet.

Anyway..............

I am sue............. GL fan ........but not near to the fan status of the rest
of this crew. Simply put - I've enjoyed his music for a long time without ever
knowing much about the man.

I'm glad I found you guys and I appreciate the help you have given me re: this question. Now I can answer my daughter.

Valerie, thanks for the directing us to the Rhino web site. Gosh, who would
have thunk that someone who fed our dreams would be material for an ISU???

Goodness, I feel old

"onchord" for something my University room-mate and I promised ourselves
and never fulfilled - to see - together - "Gord On Chord"! Godbless my friend
Sue - wherever life has taken her.

the other sue
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Old 02-18-2000, 10:37 AM   #10
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Onchord,
It was driving me nuts that I couldn't remember who commissioned CRT, so I looked and found it either in the Songbook book or the Collins (gasp!) bio. The CBC commissioned the song. Wreck, however, was not commissioned by anyone. The story goes that GL read about the wreck in Newsweek magazine and was moved to write about the tragedy and heroism of the men. I think he was commissioned to write another "shipwreck song" but not Wreck. Someone will correct me on that if I'm wrong. What I found interesting in the Songbook book was the number of songs people actually did ask him to write throughout his career.

chris

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"It took most of my time to do what never was done" -- GL
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Old 02-18-2000, 12:14 PM   #11
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GL was commisioned to do "Ghosts Of Cape Horn" for a documentary on the old ships that used to sail around the southern tip of South America.

Wes....
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Old 02-18-2000, 01:58 PM   #12
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Friend,

I agree with everything you say. I believe that 'Trilogy' is called such because it is three melodies in one song. Perhaps the following will help. (Keep in mind I have no music schooling, so this is strictly a guess.)

CANADIAN RAILROAD TRILOGY

melody #1

There was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run
When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun
Long before the white man and long before the wheel
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real

But time has no beginnings and hist'ry has no bounds
As to this verdant country they came from all around
They sailed upon her waterways and they walked the forests tall
Built the mines the mills and the factories for the good of us all

And when the young man's fancy was turnin' in the spring
The railroad men grew restless for to hear the hammers ring
Their minds were overflowing with the visions of their day
And many a fortune won and lost and many a debt to pay

melody #2

For they looked in the future and what did they see
They saw an iron road runnin' from sea to the sea
Bringin' the goods to a young growin' land
All up through the seaports and into their hands

Look away said they across this mighty land
From the eastern shore to the western strand
Bring in the workers and bring up the rails
We gotta lay down the tracks and tear up the trails
Open 'er heart let the life blood flow
Gotta get on our way 'cause we're movin' too slow

Bring in the workers and bring up the rails
We're gonna lay down the tracks and tear up the trails
Open 'er heart let the life blood flow
Gotta get on our way 'cause we're movin' too slow
Get on our way 'cause we're movin' too slow

melody #3

Behind the blue Rockies the sun is declinin'
The stars, they come stealin' at the close of the day
Across the wide prairie our loved ones lie sleeping
Beyond the dark oceans in a place far away

We are the navvies who work upon the railway
Swingin' our hammers in the bright blazin' sun
Livin' on stew and drinkin' bad whiskey
Bendin' our old backs 'til the long days are done

We are the navvies who work upon the railway
Swingin' our hammers in the bright blazin' sun
Layin' down track and buildin' the bridges
Bendin' our old backs 'til the railroad is done

melody #2

So over the mountains and over the plains
Into the muskeg and into the rain
Up the St. Lawrence all the way to Gaspe
Swingin' our hammers and drawin' our pay
Drivin' 'em in and tyin' 'em down
Away to the bunkhouse and into the town
A dollar a day and a place for my head
A drink to the livin' and a toast to the dead

Oh the song of the future has been sung
All the battles have been won
O'er the mountain tops we stand
All the world at our command
We have opened up the soil
With our teardrops and our toil

melody #1

For there was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run
When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun
Long before the white man and long before the wheel
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real
And many are the dead men too silent to be real


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Old 02-18-2000, 01:58 PM   #13
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Friend,

I agree with everything you say. I believe that 'Trilogy' is called such because it is three melodies in one song. Perhaps the following will help. (Keep in mind I have no music schooling, so this is strictly a guess.)

CANADIAN RAILROAD TRILOGY

melody #1

There was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run
When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun
Long before the white man and long before the wheel
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real

But time has no beginnings and hist'ry has no bounds
As to this verdant country they came from all around
They sailed upon her waterways and they walked the forests tall
Built the mines the mills and the factories for the good of us all

And when the young man's fancy was turnin' in the spring
The railroad men grew restless for to hear the hammers ring
Their minds were overflowing with the visions of their day
And many a fortune won and lost and many a debt to pay

melody #2

For they looked in the future and what did they see
They saw an iron road runnin' from sea to the sea
Bringin' the goods to a young growin' land
All up through the seaports and into their hands

Look away said they across this mighty land
From the eastern shore to the western strand
Bring in the workers and bring up the rails
We gotta lay down the tracks and tear up the trails
Open 'er heart let the life blood flow
Gotta get on our way 'cause we're movin' too slow

Bring in the workers and bring up the rails
We're gonna lay down the tracks and tear up the trails
Open 'er heart let the life blood flow
Gotta get on our way 'cause we're movin' too slow
Get on our way 'cause we're movin' too slow

melody #3

Behind the blue Rockies the sun is declinin'
The stars, they come stealin' at the close of the day
Across the wide prairie our loved ones lie sleeping
Beyond the dark oceans in a place far away

We are the navvies who work upon the railway
Swingin' our hammers in the bright blazin' sun
Livin' on stew and drinkin' bad whiskey
Bendin' our old backs 'til the long days are done

We are the navvies who work upon the railway
Swingin' our hammers in the bright blazin' sun
Layin' down track and buildin' the bridges
Bendin' our old backs 'til the railroad is done

melody #2

So over the mountains and over the plains
Into the muskeg and into the rain
Up the St. Lawrence all the way to Gaspe
Swingin' our hammers and drawin' our pay
Drivin' 'em in and tyin' 'em down
Away to the bunkhouse and into the town
A dollar a day and a place for my head
A drink to the livin' and a toast to the dead

Oh the song of the future has been sung
All the battles have been won
O'er the mountain tops we stand
All the world at our command
We have opened up the soil
With our teardrops and our toil

melody #1

For there was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run
When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun
Long before the white man and long before the wheel
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real
And many are the dead men too silent to be real


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Old 06-27-2004, 02:14 AM   #14
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there was a special on PBS i think in the early 90s about the Canada railroad shutting down. don't know what rr company it was. they even played the song CRT. the re-recorded version. wonder what his thoughts were about the rrd last run?
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Old 06-27-2004, 02:14 AM   #15
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there was a special on PBS i think in the early 90s about the Canada railroad shutting down. don't know what rr company it was. they even played the song CRT. the re-recorded version. wonder what his thoughts were about the rrd last run?
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Old 06-27-2004, 08:50 AM   #16
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Try this link. There is some good footage of Gordon. On the CRRT film, it shows some of Gordon before drifting into 'Seven Brides For Seven Brothers' mode, but good for all that.

http://archives.cbc.ca/IDC-1-68-743-...ightfoot/clip3
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Old 06-27-2004, 08:50 AM   #17
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Try this link. There is some good footage of Gordon. On the CRRT film, it shows some of Gordon before drifting into 'Seven Brides For Seven Brothers' mode, but good for all that.

http://archives.cbc.ca/IDC-1-68-743-...ightfoot/clip3
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Old 06-27-2004, 10:00 PM   #18
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wow that was some interesting performance of the song. kind of funny as well i'm sure the original recording didn't have the sound of the rr men working. what's also interesting is considering in the late 60s when many rock bands began to record long songs you certainly didn't see them go on Ed Sulivan or Bandstand doing the full versions. wonder how he got away wioth that? i'm also wondering why this was in b&w because in 67 everything was pretty much colorize when in American TV for the most part? anyway thanks for the link.
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Old 06-27-2004, 10:00 PM   #19
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wow that was some interesting performance of the song. kind of funny as well i'm sure the original recording didn't have the sound of the rr men working. what's also interesting is considering in the late 60s when many rock bands began to record long songs you certainly didn't see them go on Ed Sulivan or Bandstand doing the full versions. wonder how he got away wioth that? i'm also wondering why this was in b&w because in 67 everything was pretty much colorize when in American TV for the most part? anyway thanks for the link.
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Old 06-28-2004, 10:04 AM   #20
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quote:Originally posted by miketouhy:
wonder how he got away wioth that?Well it was a rather special occasion when it was first aired being as how Canadians went rather crazy about being 200 years old (they also adopted a new flag)i'm also wondering why this was in b&w because in 67 everything was pretty much colorize when in American TV for the most part? anyway thanks for the link.
A good question
It was actually on Canadian television
yet per:- http://www.fact-index.com/l/li/list_...elevision.html
"1966 in television - Canadian television stations broadcast in color for the first time."
so perhaps CBC were short of funds in 1967?? Or they thought the video looked more "arty" in B and W. No matter as I missed the original live screening I am most grateful that it has resurfaced on the wonderful CBC Archives site.I personally first saw colo(u)r television at a special American exhibition at the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels (Belgium)
(which reminds me that the very first television set I saw was a closed circuit one with me on the screen at the Festival Of Britain way back in 1951)

------------------
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starts at
http://www.johnfowles.org.uk/lightfoot

[This message has been edited by johnfowles (edited June 28, 2004).]
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Old 06-28-2004, 10:04 AM   #21
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quote:Originally posted by miketouhy:
wonder how he got away wioth that?Well it was a rather special occasion when it was first aired being as how Canadians went rather crazy about being 200 years old (they also adopted a new flag)i'm also wondering why this was in b&w because in 67 everything was pretty much colorize when in American TV for the most part? anyway thanks for the link.
A good question
It was actually on Canadian television
yet per:- http://www.fact-index.com/l/li/list_...elevision.html
"1966 in television - Canadian television stations broadcast in color for the first time."
so perhaps CBC were short of funds in 1967?? Or they thought the video looked more "arty" in B and W. No matter as I missed the original live screening I am most grateful that it has resurfaced on the wonderful CBC Archives site.I personally first saw colo(u)r television at a special American exhibition at the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels (Belgium)
(which reminds me that the very first television set I saw was a closed circuit one with me on the screen at the Festival Of Britain way back in 1951)

------------------
My Gordon Lightfoot webring
starts at
http://www.johnfowles.org.uk/lightfoot

[This message has been edited by johnfowles (edited June 28, 2004).]
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Old 06-28-2004, 05:41 PM   #22
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I remember vaguely from my childhood that American Television was a combination of B&W and Color for many years after the first "color" broadcast. Some shows were shot in color, some where not.

quote:Originally posted by johnfowles:

"1966 in television - Canadian television stations broadcast in color for the first time."
so perhaps CBC were short of funds in 1967?? Or they thought the video looked more "arty" in B and W.


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Old 06-28-2004, 05:41 PM   #23
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I remember vaguely from my childhood that American Television was a combination of B&W and Color for many years after the first "color" broadcast. Some shows were shot in color, some where not.

quote:Originally posted by johnfowles:

"1966 in television - Canadian television stations broadcast in color for the first time."
so perhaps CBC were short of funds in 1967?? Or they thought the video looked more "arty" in B and W.


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Old 06-28-2004, 06:02 PM   #24
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quote:Originally posted by violet Blue Horse:
I remember vaguely from my childhood that Taklking odc color asAmerican Television was a combination of B&W and Color for many years after the first "color" broadcast. Some shows were shot in color, some where not.


I reckon you are correct there Violet
I well tremember seing canadian colo(u)r television sometime in probably 1967. It actually made me watch some Canadian Ice Hockey games at parties there. (much more exciting in colo(u)r). In comparison the market for colo(u)r tv opened up rather later in the UK and mainly due to the promotion of snooker games (it was
pretty stupid and difficult trying to work out What In Hell Was Happening on a Black and White set!!
Talking of color as we are Violet just before we all left the chat room last Friday I noted that a "violet" came in for a few seconds-was that you??If so please do try again next friday and be less shrinking then OK?? Janice from your neck of the woods often chats BTW


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starts at
http://www.johnfowles.org.uk/lightfoot
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Old 06-28-2004, 06:02 PM   #25
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quote:Originally posted by violet Blue Horse:
I remember vaguely from my childhood that Taklking odc color asAmerican Television was a combination of B&W and Color for many years after the first "color" broadcast. Some shows were shot in color, some where not.


I reckon you are correct there Violet
I well tremember seing canadian colo(u)r television sometime in probably 1967. It actually made me watch some Canadian Ice Hockey games at parties there. (much more exciting in colo(u)r). In comparison the market for colo(u)r tv opened up rather later in the UK and mainly due to the promotion of snooker games (it was
pretty stupid and difficult trying to work out What In Hell Was Happening on a Black and White set!!
Talking of color as we are Violet just before we all left the chat room last Friday I noted that a "violet" came in for a few seconds-was that you??If so please do try again next friday and be less shrinking then OK?? Janice from your neck of the woods often chats BTW


------------------
My Gordon Lightfoot webring
starts at
http://www.johnfowles.org.uk/lightfoot
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