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Old 10-16-2006, 07:45 AM   #1
Jesse Joe
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Photo by, Brian Leviel. Found on Googles...


Click on the link, and scroll down, then click where it says VIDEO, you can watch, Gord perform, "TRIANGLE," at the Square in Kitchener, last night. {10-15-2006}


http://www.therecord.com/breakingnew...s_9489685.html











Monday, October 16, 2006 | Updated at 8:26 AM EDT


Lightfoot treads familiar ground at Centre
Weakened voice doesn't mar performance
By Robert Reid


Record staff


Kitchener


At some level, you have to talk about Gordon Lightfoot in symbolic terms.


The CD booklet for Harmony, his 20th album of original songs released after his brush with death in 2002, includes a close-up photo of the singer-songwriter changing guitar strings.


New strings on a venerable guitar celebrated for the mastery of its craftsmanship -- it's an image that applies equally to an artist who wears the term legendary like a weathered pair of jeans.


Lightfoot returned to familiar turf when he made his ninth visit to the Centre in the Square since 1980, his first in seven years.


No Canadian recording artist has insinuated himself deeper into the lives of fans than the 67-year-old Orillia native.


It was abundantly evident from Sunday night's capacity crowd that many chart the contours of their lives by the compass of Lightfoot songs and albums.


Never mind, we are Canadian; we are Lightfoot. And Lightfoot is us.


The woman who sat beside me came with her 92-year-old mother, a Lightfoot fan even if her hearing isn't what it used to be.


Mother and daughter attended the concert together as an act of remembrance of a son and a brother, who died four years ago and who used to play Lightfoot songs on his guitar.


The two women held hands when Lightfoot performed If You Could Read My Mind.


A Lightfoot concert is different from what it was when he was in his prime, before the ravages of living hard began extracting revenge.


Then he would come on stage and plow through a dozen songs without so much as a nod to the audience, impervious to the adulation. Embarrassed by the adoration, he sometimes appeared disdainful of fans.


Not anymore.


Now he nods in appreciation and says thank you after every song, even if he still isn't big on between-song banter.


However, he did explain how Elvis improved the lyricism of Early Mornin' Rain by changing ''cold and drunk as I can be'' to ''cold and drunk as I might be.''


A Lightfoot concert these days resembles the visit of a favourite uncle, the one everybody in the family admires and respects, even loves, because he has wrestled with life on his own terms and accepted the consequences with grace and modesty, even wisdom.


As usual when he performs in Kitchener, family and many close friends were in attendance.


Performing might never have been so more important to Lightfoot.


Perhaps this is how it should be. After all, it is his songs and live performances that have sustained his career for more than 40 years, not television nor video nor radio play.


The passage of time was most evident in his voice, once one of the hallmarks of his performance.


His once-resonant baritone is long past reedy, raspy or wispy. It's a thin shadow of a voice that was.


Initially, it was shocking to hear such a diminished instrument when he slipped gingerly into the first songs, including Cotton Jenny and 14 Karat Gold, of two 50-minute sets.


He didn't perform many of his best-loved songs, one suspects because of vocal demands he can no longer satisfy.


Consequently, for much of the concert, the audience response was more polite than enthusiastic.


With the exception of a few songs, including A Painter Passing Through, Restless, In My Fashion and Waiting for You, Lightfoot's songs from the 1980s and '90s just don't strike the deep chords of his songs from the late 1960s and '70s.


At one point, he even asked, ''I'm doing all right, am I?'' He need not have worried.


His most familiar songs were greeted with robust applause and he received a sustained standing ovation, which he acknowledged with an encore of Old Dan's Records. He returned for a final bow with the audience still standing.


Once his vocal chords warmed up and our ears adjusted to the diminution, what was initially a weakness acquired strength, equal parts perseverance and courage.


The raw, rugged grandeur of Johnny Cash's American Recordings came to mind.


An early favourite, Ribbon of Darkness, acquired bittersweet poignancy when delivered by an artist who spent six weeks in a coma four years ago -- and recently suffered a mini-stroke.


Sit Down Young Stranger, a coming-of-age chronicle written during the Vietnam War, was transformed into a song of recollection and reflection from the perspective of maturity.


His tenderest songs, such as Rainy Day People and If You Could Read My Mind, were imbued with a fragility and vulnerability that cast an autumnal glow which was elegiac.


Heroically, he negotiated his way through The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, his epic saga of a Lake Superior shipping disaster, during the first set.


He bravely offered Canadian Railroad Trilogy, a song woven so tightly into the Canadian fabric as to be mythic, in the second set.


There were moments when it seemed like his voice wouldn't hold up. But he made it to the last magnificent lines: ''When the green dark forest was too silent to be real/And many are the dead men . . . (extended pause) . . . too silent to be real.''


Like his voice, Lightfoot's guitarwork on his six-string Martin and 12-string Gibson proved worse for wear.


He was accompanied by his longtime band of Terry Clements on lead acoustic guitar, Rick Haynes on bass, Berry Keane on drums and Michael Heffernan on keyboards.


If anything, the quartet was so effortlessly efficient and polished that they left little room for the songs to breath.


There was definite sense of denouement about the concert.


Lightfoot has been so deeply ingrained in the Canadian psyche for so long, we think he is immortal, like his songs.


But, as he confesses in In My Fashion, ''I have seen the reaper.'' Irrespective of what he has seen, Gordon Lightfoot's great, endearing legacy will not pass.

[ November 05, 2006, 16:03: Message edited by: Jesse -Joe ]
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Old 10-16-2006, 08:05 AM   #2
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It's ok I suppose; sounds like this guy hasn't seen the guys play in about 20 years though..
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Old 10-16-2006, 09:34 AM   #3
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Brutally honest. Sad but sweet. Time has taken some, but definitely not all, of what Gord used to have. In fact, when I saw him in Sept., I know there were several songs which I thought sounded almost exactly like the recordings we've all heard on our stereos & on the radio for a zillion years. And as for the guitar playing, well I guess having a stroke is a pretty good excuse for not playing the same as you used to. I thought the article was quite beautifully written, although bittersweet, and forces us all to face the fact that we should treasure those people who mean so much to us while we have 'em, because even for them, time marches on.
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Old 10-16-2006, 11:05 AM   #4
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Thanks Jesse-Joe, for the posting.

It seems that most of these newspaper type reviews have a "give some and then take it away" stripe to them. As if giving a compliment where due is too much for them.

But in totality the reviewer does give Gord, the band, and the audience proper credit and coverage.
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Old 10-16-2006, 12:32 PM   #5
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Ya.. there's also this certain resentment of aging people in this culture; ever notice that?.. Someone once said, "If you don't believe there's age discrimination?.. just wait a few years." It's like, it's your FAULT, or something, for getting older.. Hey Gord's older and lost a little timber in the pipes.. BREAKING NEWS! and OH MY GOD!.. I mean so what.. What's too understated (in general I mean) is what's gained.. by what's lost..

re: "give some and then take it away"..
Yes.. indeed.. We have a free weekly here in Minneapolis (City Pages).. and I don't think I've ever seen a movie reviewer give a movie an A rating. B+ is the best ya can get etc.. (i.e. no movie, or anything for that matter, can ever be.. good enough) etc..
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Old 10-16-2006, 12:50 PM   #6
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Of course don't listen to me necessarilly; I'm one of the probably very few oddballs who loves Gord's voice now much more than I did when he was younger. I find it more expressive; it hits me harder now, moves me more etc.. When I (years ago) drove to the music store in Largo, Florida one day to buy the newly released Painter Passing Through, I hastily, excitedly unwrapped the CD in the car, dropped it in the player, and on came Drifters.. "I don't believe in miracles if it's all the same by you.." etc.. my chills had chills; my goosebumps got goosebumps.. and I smiled and thought, ya man, now you've found it big guy.. now you've realized it.. I'll never ferget that moment..
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Old 10-16-2006, 02:12 PM   #7
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This is a very nice lead photo, Jesse-Joe. Is it one of yours?
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Old 10-16-2006, 03:07 PM   #8
Jesse Joe
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Photo by: Brian Leviel, found on Googles...




Photo by: Brian Leviel, found on Googles...




Photo by: Brian Leviel, found on Googles...


No Peter Bro10, these three great photos, by Brian Leviel, I did find on Googles... ~Jesse~

[ October 18, 2006, 11:13: Message edited by: Jesse -Joe ]
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Old 10-16-2006, 03:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by RJ:
Of course don't listen to me necessarilly; I'm one of the probably very few oddballs who loves Gord's voice now much more than I did when he was younger. I find it more expressive; it hits me harder now, moves me more etc.. When I (years ago) drove to the music store in Largo, Florida one day to buy the newly released Painter Passing Through, I hastily, excitedly unwrapped the CD in the car, dropped it in the player, and on came Drifters.. "I don't believe in miracles if it's all the same by you.." etc.. my chills had chills; my goosebumps got goosebumps.. and I smiled and thought, ya man, now you've found it big guy.. now you've realized it.. I'll never ferget that moment..
I know exactly how you feel, RJ. Same here, my goosebumps got goosebumps... :D Right On Man... ~Jesse~
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Old 10-17-2006, 02:56 PM   #10
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All of those photos are from my web site, taken by Brian Leviel. Ah well, time to put credits on the photos I guess ...
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Old 10-17-2006, 04:58 PM   #11
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Great photos, Valerie!
Brian must have had great seats!!!
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Old 10-18-2006, 09:57 AM   #12
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There are some songs in concert that sound like the recordings. At Wolftrap a few years ago I was astonished when he shifted from the strained voice of songs where he's trying too hard (voice thin and strained) and did Minstral of the Dawn sounding almost exactly like the recording!

I have a feeling that in a smaller setting -- like a supper club or someone's living room that he sounds much better. He would avoid the performance strain I think.
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Old 10-18-2006, 11:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by RJ:
I'm one of the probably very few oddballs who loves Gord's voice now much more than I did when he was younger. I find it more expressive; it hits me harder now, moves me more etc
Interesting I have recently repeatedly played a CD of a 2005 Californian concert whose first track happens to be "The Pony Man", which is normally nowhere close to making it into any sort of listing of my favourites, and I suddenly realised thay Gord singing it nowadays in his current "lived in" voice actually sounds to me now better suited to the song than the original recording on the IYCRMM/SDYS album and really made me listen to and appreciate the qualities of the song as if for the first time, wierd!!
No I am not weird just newly appreciative of that children's song.
As an aside I believe I remember hearing a comment from Gord somewhere that if he does not nowadays start the second half of a concert (after the intermission ) with SDYS it would be because he had a request for "The Pony Man

A still from somebody else's interpretaton of the song
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bill:
There are some songs in concert that sound like the recordings. At Wolftrap a few years ago I was astonished when he did Minstre(a)l of the Dawn sounding almost exactly like the recording!
And yes recent concert performances of
"Minstrel of the Dawn" have been simply magnificent

[ October 18, 2006, 11:14: Message edited by: johnfowles ]
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Old 10-18-2006, 12:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by vlmagee:
All of those photos are from my web site, taken by Brian Leviel. Ah well, time to put credits on the photos I guess ...
Sorry for this Val. My apology to you and Brian.
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Old 10-18-2006, 12:55 PM   #15
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Does anyone have the scoop on The Pony Man lyrics? I printed out from Wayne's site the full lyric and it has verses I have never heard. Would you believe I sing this to my 3 year old almost every night now... just want to get the words right.
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Old 10-18-2006, 01:32 PM   #16
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The Pony Man, 1969, 1972 Gordon Lightfoot

When it's midnight on the meadow
And the cats are in the shed
And the river tells a story
At the window by my bed
If you listen very closely
Be as quiet as you can
In the yard you'll hear him
It is the pony man

We're always there to greet him
When he tumbles into town
He leads a string of ponies
Some are white and some are brown
And they never seem to kick or bite
They only want to play
And they live on candy apples
Instead of oats and hay

And when we're all assembled
He gives a soft command
And we climb aboard our ponies
As in a row the stand
Then down the road we gallop
And across the fields we fly
And soon we all go sailing off
Into the midnight sky

And as we gaily rock along
Beside a ripplin' sea
There's Tom 'n Dick 'n Sally
And Mary Joe and me
And the pony man is leading
Cause he's travelled here before
And he gives a whoop and a holler
At Mr. Moon's front door

And then we form in single file
inside the moon we go
Into a land of magic
that the grownups do not know
Where the streets are paved with chocolate
and the trees are hung with toys
And there's chewing gum for every one
of the little girls and boys

And as we stop to rest a while
Where the soda river glides
Up to the slip comes a pirate ship
To take us for a ride
And the pony man's the captain
And the children are the crew
And we go in search of treasure
And laugh the whole night through

But then the clouds surround us
and the seas begin to boil
And the wind howls like a dragon
as upon the decks we toil
When 'longside floats a bottle
which soon on board is hove
With a map inside which leads us
to a giant treasure trove

And when the hold is filled with gold
And the sails begin to strain
And the deck's piled high with apple pie
We head for port again
And down the whirling starcase
So swift our ponies fly
And we're safely in our beds again
When the sunbeams kiss the sky

When it's midnight on the meadow
And the cats are in the shed
And the river tells a story
At the window by my bed
If you listen very closely
Be as quiet as you can
In the yard you'll hear him
It is the pony man
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Old 10-18-2006, 01:34 PM   #17
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http://www.gordonlightfoot.com/songs.shtml

Peter Bro 10,

Click this link, and get most Gordon Lightfoot songs, all in alphabetical order. Click on the one you wish to see the lyrics.

[ October 18, 2006, 14:10: Message edited by: Jesse -Joe ]
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Old 10-18-2006, 03:01 PM   #18
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Thanks Jesse-Joe.
Have you heard any recordings of all 9 paragraphs being sung? I've only heard the "standard" 7 (with paragraphs 5 and 7 omitted).
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Old 10-18-2006, 03:26 PM   #19
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JJ: Don't worry about having posted those images. You found them on Google, and it's the fact that they appear there, sans text credits, that causes the problem. I suppose I should have realized long ago that credits under photos would not be carried over to Google Images.

I only posted that they were on my site to give Brian the credit he deserves.
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Old 10-18-2006, 03:39 PM   #20
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Ok Val, thank's, I agree with giving Brian, the credit that he deserves. Because those 3 pics of the, 'Magical Poet Genius,' are the best photos, Ive seen in a while.


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Old 10-18-2006, 03:43 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Peter Bro10:
Thanks Jesse-Joe.
Have you heard any recordings of all 9 paragraphs being sung? I've only heard the "standard" 7 (with paragraphs 5 and 7 omitted).
You notice something there, Peter that I had never even seen. You are right I never heard of paragragh 5 & 7, either..

Very interesting someone has got to have an answer here.

Maybe he does them in concert?
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Old 10-18-2006, 04:42 PM   #22
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I've never heard them in concert - he probably cuts them for the sake of time....
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Old 10-18-2006, 07:44 PM   #23
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OK, here's a guess - and only a guess. The copyright info I have for the song shows "1969, 1972". I don't remember where I got that, but I wouldn't have made it up. The illustrated children's book has the two extra verses, and it was published in 1972. So my guess is that he wrote those two verses then, for the book, and has (perhaps) never performed them, sticking to the verses he wrote originally.
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Old 10-19-2006, 08:09 AM   #24
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Thanks for the replys. The Pony Man has always been way up there on my Lightfoot favorites.
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