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Old 11-23-2000, 10:40 AM   #1
JOE
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Growing up in the 70's Lightfoot was my idol.I play folk music and probably have 20 or so of his songs in my repertoire. I sort of lost track of him after "Shadows". I recently got the "Gord's Gold II" cd. I don't mean to be rude, but, what happened to his voice ??, the utra warm quality of his voice seems to have disappeared. Also, the new arrangements seem all the same. I really wish he had not re-recorded "Pony Man", the original is a favorite of mine, the new version is really mediocre. Don't get me wrong, he's still the best writer ever. Did he suffer some sort of vocal chord illness ??, just wondering
Joe M

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Old 11-23-2000, 01:41 PM   #2
SilverHeels
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It may be something called 'age', Joe. Gordon Lightfoot still remains
el supremo, and the voice still does it
for me.
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Old 11-23-2000, 02:50 PM   #3
Rose
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I agree with SilverHeels, with age comes many changes, but personally I think Gord's voice is still very strong and to me, anyway he still sounds the same. I know my voice has changed over the years.

Rose
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Old 11-24-2000, 11:31 AM   #4
Sheila Ann
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I don't think Joe is being mean or argumentative or saying he doesn't like Lightfoot anymore...he's just stunned like a lot of us were when we experienced the voice change for the first time. It is a shocker! My last "new" purchase before Painter was East of Midnight, which I really, really liked. In the early 90's I purchased the UA Collection...nothing new there just old stuff put together in one place. Then came Painter. I had to special order the cassette version because I didn't have a CD player yet and our stores only carried the CD version. When they called me to tell me the tape was in I left work early to go pick it up. Excitement, excitement! My collection of GL works does not include Waiting For You because my country music interest went into high gear in the late 80's, so although I still played all my GL stuff on a regular basis my purchases were country music. If I had purchased Waiting I probably would have been prepared for what I heard on Painter. I was so hurt I cried myself to sleep. I felt like I'd lost a very old and dear friend. It was a real crusher for me. When I awoke the next morning I realized that I was still here and so was he and that was a very good thing! I saw him in concert last summer for the first time. He knows very well that the voice he used to have is not there but he is so gifted that the arrangements are carefully crafted to compensate and give the audience a great show. I was very impressed. He likes what he's doing and it shows. My old friend came back to life for me that night. I have a pet phrase...there's more than one way to skin a cat. He can keep skinning cats, as far as I'm concerned, in whatever way keeps him in front of us. I'm looking forward to his PBS special (I get to see it twice because my cable provider picks up two PBS affiliates that ARE showing it!) and his concert in either Hagerstown, MD or Alexandria, VA next spring. Ever onward...
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Old 11-25-2000, 12:14 AM   #5
jeff
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I can't figure out if it is totally age that has changed Gord's voice. Listen to the Dream Street Rose album and then Salute. The transformation will knock you over. But Salute came out in 1983 so he was only 43 or 44 when he recorded it. So age is not the only factor. Don't discount the role of tobacco and alcohol on his voice. Then again, they didn't bother Frank Sinatra much. But I also think he just changed his style. I won't presume to judge whether that's good or bad, because I still like his songs, and I could listen to the music all day.
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Old 11-26-2000, 05:33 PM   #6
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The biggest change in the voice isn't from DSR to salute, it's that year b/t Shadows and salute.
I think his strongest voice on album was in DSR. On salute, he had that nasal soun, but it still sounded strong due to the instrumental backing. I don't think the tobacco or alohol can do that much to a voice in one year. He must have changed thr style on purpose.
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Old 11-27-2000, 09:55 PM   #7
supaiblue
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Sheila Ann, I can definitely relate to your story and you did a fine job describing it. I had a rather disturbing experience a while back which I could not describe here without causing people to run out for a big supply of kleenex. The final analysis is that we're all getting old too and that's the biggest shocker.
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Old 11-28-2000, 07:13 AM   #8
SilverHeels
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NAH! Lightfoot fans NEVER grow old;
they just mature deliciously lol
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Old 11-28-2000, 06:38 PM   #9
Sheila Ann
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Thank you, supaiblue, for your warm comment but...no, no, no...my mirror told me that SilverHeels is correct and I'm not getting old I'm just maturing deliciously!
Sheila-B
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Old 12-03-2000, 07:33 PM   #10
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It might not be his voice, other than as you age, your voice looses the ability reproduce high notes. The answer might be recording techniques, everything has, in the last ten years, gone to digital recording. Digital boards, and tape machines. I'm a professional drummer and have complained about the brittleness that digital stuff gives my drums. It does the same for the human voice as well. You have to use an all tube preamp to bring back some warmth. It's a pain in the butt, but{pun intended} absolutely nessessary. It'san easy thing to overlook, but if you trust the engineer completely, it may be overlooked.
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Old 12-03-2000, 07:58 PM   #11
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I've just had a listen to, and compared "A Painter Passing Though" to " Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgareld" and for one thing, they're not using plate reverb on his voice anymore. It's a room with nothing in it save for a speaker and a microphone. You feed the vocal track in through the speaker, and record what comes out through the mic and into the board. It gives any voice depth and resonance. You can probably fix it, if you were so inclined.
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Old 12-03-2000, 09:27 PM   #12
Sheila Ann
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jrcel,
For drill I just listened to Painter and Wreck but unfortunately my ear is just not trained to pick up on the recording techniques you refer to. Your observation may shed some light on why, to me, his concert voice on the newer songs sounds better than the recordings. Age is still a factor but maybe not as much as we are hearing on the newer vs. older recorded releases. I am now curious to see which way he sounds on the PBS special. When you say, "you could probably fix it, if you were so inclined", I'm assuming you mean he/they when he/they record. Correct? Thanks for you input...it was interesting.
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Old 12-03-2000, 09:32 PM   #13
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I've had the good fortune to see Gord in concert several times over the past 30 years, the last time being in March 1999 , and yes the voice has altered a bit . The last time I saw him the voice was a little weak at the start of the show , but by the 4th or 5th song the vocal chods had warmed up and it was just like listening to him 20 years ago .
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Old 12-03-2000, 10:22 PM   #14
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Although I haven't (and probabaly won't) seen him in concert (come back oz Gord!), I prefer the voice he has on WFY and APPT over the one on EOM and GGvol2

I don't think it was his age/booze/smoking that gave him that nasal tone in the mid - late 80s. Is there a technical explanation for the voice on anything for love, morning glory, and endless wire, hangdog hotel room, if it should please you on GGvol2? It's too nasal, but on WFY, it suddenly improved, IMO
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Old 12-17-2000, 10:27 PM   #15
Mike G.
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The story I heard was years of cocaine abuse destroyed his nasal passages and thus profoundly affected his voice.
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Old 12-18-2000, 01:43 AM   #16
Rebecca
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My information may be wrong, but I heard that Gord was never heavily into any mind-altering substances other than booze and marijuana.
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Old 12-18-2000, 07:41 PM   #17
SilverHeels
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Rebecca, I think Mike may be tugging at
our chains ... like another 'fan' a few
weeks back. In fact he may well be that
same 'fan' using a different name.
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Old 12-18-2000, 08:28 PM   #18
supaiblue
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SH: I believe it's at least 7 different names; must be a miserable life.
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Old 12-18-2000, 10:06 PM   #19
Rebecca
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Oh, I finally get it! Mike G. is DB and Roy and Terry Clements! Maybe we should continue the TC vs. Red Shea discussion here. NOT!
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Old 12-19-2000, 03:41 PM   #20
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There is definitely a change that cannot be helped. As far as the recording techniques go, I am not that knowledgeable, but I know I have read interviews in which Gord prides himself on NOT using many of the technological marvels that others use. He says he has been criticized for it, but adds that he believes it's a "damn honest sound." Even the untrained ear can see some truth in that by listening to Sunday Concert. What a joy to go to a concert where the band, and especially the singer's voice, sound just like the recordings. I also heard it on the tape Charlene sent us which included some older footage. On all those older live performances, his voice is just as we hear it on the albums from the 60's and 70's. Then something most definitely happened that I don't think has that much to do with any technology changes. We try to find the answer by suggesting years of substance abuse, but then realize that there are many singers in their 60's and even 70's who abused drugs and/or alcohol, but still have deep voices. Maybe Gord's case does have to do in part with substances he used. They can affect different people in different ways, so maybe it affected Gord's voice but not Sinatra's. And perhaps it is more age than anything else, again affecting some people's voices more than others, or a combination of all of these things and maybe others. He also is quite a bit thinner than he used to be, and I forget right now exactly when that happened, but perhaps that affected things too. In any case, there is definitely a real, physical change that took place, but you can't argue on one point: the man can still sing. I noticed, like others, that it takes him a few songs to get warmed up and then he starts sounding like the younger Gord, but never quite as deep. And I did notice that he changes some notes that used to be higher. For instance, in Rainy Day People, he no longer goes for the high note on the line, "...if you've been down to long." But for those of you with a copy of Much More Music or with some footage from the PBS special from Reno, watch and listen again, and take in the whole package. The band sounds terrific. I could watch Terry Clements play that lead guitar all concert long and the others are just as good. And even though Gord's voice is different, he still sings great; with all the feeling and sincerity he always did.
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Old 12-22-2000, 04:09 PM   #21
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When I alluded to fixing the vocal problem, if that's the word I want. Any modern effects processor has presets, which emulate just about every kind of vocal effect ever used, I missspoke in my earlier post, I said "plate" when I meant "room" reverb. Anyway, you just run the mic through the effects send, return on the board to add it. That is unless the artist doesn't want it, then you follow the artists lead.
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Old 12-28-2000, 06:30 AM   #22
Rob Wells
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Well, I've read all your posts and I have to let you know that your all wrong. Something of a very personal nature occured that damaged Gord's voice. He's been under a doctors' care since the incident. Don't bother asking what, I'm sworn to secrecy under penalty of DEATH. I will say, that by the end of last August the old voice was back and he was in almost perfect form. He does avoid the high notes, but that's part of his recovery, still in process. Enough said!!!
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Old 12-28-2000, 11:38 AM   #23
SilverHeels
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Thanks Rob - now why dont we just close
this topic and move on. Gord is still
the Master and sounding great. Cant wait
to see/hear him live in Toronto come May.
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