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Old 03-10-2006, 09:41 PM   #1
Art Gives Hope
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I'm a newbie to this site and forum, but hardly a newbie to life or folk music. Virtually every day I listen to a Lightfoot disc as I drive, and my 16-year-old choir-singing daughter has taken a liking to Gord. She asked me a question the other day that I can't answer with 100% certainty. In listening to "Ghosts of Cape Horn," she asks, "Who's doing the whistling?" Good question. And, a further question of mine, emanating from my somewhat diminished hearing: Is that an acoustic guitar that the whistling parallels? Regardless of whether or not it's acoustic, who's playing it? And who's whistling? Or is that an attempt to portray a sailor's hornpipe with another instrument? Sounds like acoustic and whistling to me. Best wishes. Jim in Texas
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Old 03-10-2006, 09:41 PM   #2
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I'm a newbie to this site and forum, but hardly a newbie to life or folk music. Virtually every day I listen to a Lightfoot disc as I drive, and my 16-year-old choir-singing daughter has taken a liking to Gord. She asked me a question the other day that I can't answer with 100% certainty. In listening to "Ghosts of Cape Horn," she asks, "Who's doing the whistling?" Good question. And, a further question of mine, emanating from my somewhat diminished hearing: Is that an acoustic guitar that the whistling parallels? Regardless of whether or not it's acoustic, who's playing it? And who's whistling? Or is that an attempt to portray a sailor's hornpipe with another instrument? Sounds like acoustic and whistling to me. Best wishes. Jim in Texas
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Old 03-10-2006, 10:37 PM   #3
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Don't know. I think so twas him in Brave Mountaineers, but in Ghosts of Cape Horn, it sounds like two or three people singing.
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Old 03-11-2006, 12:15 AM   #4
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i think i read somewhere gord, terry and rick were doing the whistling on it... maybe i was drunk at the time, though
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Old 03-11-2006, 06:24 PM   #5
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Big Jim,
Welcome. I've only been a member for a few weeks, but this forum has some very special people. Never met a Gord fan I did not like, well, maybe one or two..
I don't know if this answer is valid, but when Gord redocrded his Soundstage PSB special, or Austin City Limits (?), Gord introduced the song before it came out on Dream Sreet Rose.
He explained it for the audience as a song he was commissioned to write for, I believe, National Geographic for a documentary about sailing vessels that rounded the Horn.
In this performance, there was footage full-screened from the documentary, and they cut to Gord apoloogizing for the attempt to sound like an old "Tin Whistle", and *He* did the whistling, while he played rhythm and sang.
True or not on the album, I am not sure, but he did a fine enough job on the live show. Hope that helps. Welcome again from another *newbie*.
- Steve
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Old 03-11-2006, 08:44 PM   #6
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Stevie boy, your memory seems okie-dokie on this one.
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Old 03-11-2006, 09:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by geodeticman:
Big Jim,
Welcome. I've only been a member for a few weeks, but this forum has some very special people. Never met a Gord fan I did not like, well, maybe one or two..
I don't know if this answer is valid, but when Gord redocrded his Soundstage PSB special, or Austin City Limits (?), Gord introduced the song before it came out on Dream Sreet Rose.
He explained it for the audience as a song he was commissioned to write for, I believe, National Geographic for a documentary about sailing vessels that rounded the Horn.
In this performance, there was footage full-screened from the documentary, and they cut to Gord apoloogizing for the attempt to sound like an old "Tin Whistle", and *He* did the whistling, while he played rhythm and sang.
True or not on the album, I am not sure, but he did a fine enough job on the live show. Hope that helps. Welcome again from another *newbie*.
- Steve
It had to have been SS because I remember seeing it when I was small. I don't recall him mentioning the NG special though I recall either seeing part of it or something about the topic years later and hearing the song and I mentioned this before it sounds older that 1979-1980, more like from the 60s. I don't know why it sounds like it tome it just does.
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Old 03-11-2006, 09:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by geodeticman:
Big Jim,
Welcome. I've only been a member for a few weeks, but this forum has some very special people. Never met a Gord fan I did not like, well, maybe one or two..
I don't know if this answer is valid, but when Gord redocrded his Soundstage PSB special, or Austin City Limits (?), Gord introduced the song before it came out on Dream Sreet Rose.
He explained it for the audience as a song he was commissioned to write for, I believe, National Geographic for a documentary about sailing vessels that rounded the Horn.
In this performance, there was footage full-screened from the documentary, and they cut to Gord apoloogizing for the attempt to sound like an old "Tin Whistle", and *He* did the whistling, while he played rhythm and sang.
True or not on the album, I am not sure, but he did a fine enough job on the live show. Hope that helps. Welcome again from another *newbie*.
- Steve
It had to have been SS because I remember seeing it when I was small. I don't recall him mentioning the NG special though I recall either seeing part of it or something about the topic years later and hearing the song and I mentioned this before it sounds older that 1979-1980, more like from the 60s. I don't know why it sounds like it tome it just does.
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Old 03-11-2006, 10:42 PM   #9
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Welcome, Big Jim. Have fun and post more!
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Old 03-12-2006, 09:09 AM   #10
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Gord usually mentions that he was commissioned to write the song for a tv special/documentary and I recall it was him whistling years ago but don't remember him saying National Geographic.
He doesn't whistle anymore (the pucker gave out!) but perhaps a recorded whistle is used and Mike H. plays it on his keyboard or Mike plays it himself and then other times the audience sometimes helps out.

checking National Geographic website finds no mention of this show.

from MSN movies:
the 54 minute movie in 1981 had Jason Robards as the narrator:
Synopsis
In this documentary on seafaring in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the weathered crews who sailed from New York to San Francisco come alive again. Focusing on the dangerous and often fatal voyage around Cape Horn in South America, the film goes back in time using previously unseen, 1920s footage. The story moves from the empty graves of sailors lost at sea to the hulks of shipwrecks in the Falkland Islands. As a graphic example of the hazards of this long journey, the ill-fated maiden voyage of the sunken "St. Mary" is recounted in detail. The theme of unflagging devotion to ships and sailing runs throughout and is echoed in the dedication of the craftsmen in New England who practice the forgotten art of shipbuilding -- no matter that the ships have died along with their era. The soundtrack, the interaction of historical and modern footage, and the restrained narration create an evocative context for this intriguing look at a particular page in nautical history. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide

also: http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movie...ml?v_id=156980

also-Gremlins 2-The New Batch (1990) has Lightfoot listed as a songwriter.
http://entertainment.msn.com/celebs/celeb.aspx?c=57194
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Old 03-12-2006, 09:09 AM   #11
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Gord usually mentions that he was commissioned to write the song for a tv special/documentary and I recall it was him whistling years ago but don't remember him saying National Geographic.
He doesn't whistle anymore (the pucker gave out!) but perhaps a recorded whistle is used and Mike H. plays it on his keyboard or Mike plays it himself and then other times the audience sometimes helps out.

checking National Geographic website finds no mention of this show.

from MSN movies:
the 54 minute movie in 1981 had Jason Robards as the narrator:
Synopsis
In this documentary on seafaring in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the weathered crews who sailed from New York to San Francisco come alive again. Focusing on the dangerous and often fatal voyage around Cape Horn in South America, the film goes back in time using previously unseen, 1920s footage. The story moves from the empty graves of sailors lost at sea to the hulks of shipwrecks in the Falkland Islands. As a graphic example of the hazards of this long journey, the ill-fated maiden voyage of the sunken "St. Mary" is recounted in detail. The theme of unflagging devotion to ships and sailing runs throughout and is echoed in the dedication of the craftsmen in New England who practice the forgotten art of shipbuilding -- no matter that the ships have died along with their era. The soundtrack, the interaction of historical and modern footage, and the restrained narration create an evocative context for this intriguing look at a particular page in nautical history. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide

also: http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movie...ml?v_id=156980

also-Gremlins 2-The New Batch (1990) has Lightfoot listed as a songwriter.
http://entertainment.msn.com/celebs/celeb.aspx?c=57194
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Old 03-12-2006, 06:37 PM   #12
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I have no doubt it's him doing the whistle. Just a gut feeling.

Hello by the way,reporting today from Juniper branch library. About 7 miles NE of home.
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Old 03-14-2006, 02:57 PM   #13
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When I saw Gord in Las Vegas last year, he did his own whistling. It seemed to take a bit of effort to get it out, but the crowd, along with Terry's guitar, helped out. Beautiful tune!
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Old 03-14-2006, 02:57 PM   #14
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When I saw Gord in Las Vegas last year, he did his own whistling. It seemed to take a bit of effort to get it out, but the crowd, along with Terry's guitar, helped out. Beautiful tune!
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Old 03-14-2006, 05:46 PM   #15
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I figured I'd get some good, thoughtful info when I posted my query. My 16-year-old daughter, who has become a Lightfoot fan by listening to my discs while we travel here and there, thought all along that it was Gord himself doing the whistling -- and yes, it is a human whistle, not a hornpipe or the like. She also thinks the guitar for the whistle-guitar "duet" is acoustic. So do I. We turn the volume way up and listen attentively, hopefully dodging traffic and not attracting too much attention. So far, I have yet to hear the give-away twang of an electric string buzz or a scrape of a pick being amplified by the electric pick-up. There are a couple of faint "slides" of a calloused finger up a string, which makes me think the engineering was quite good on this recording. Regardless, it is one damned great song, both lyrics and music, and the execution is outstanding. I seem to have a vague, old memory of somehow hearing or reading that this piece was indeed specially written to accompany the National Geographic show by the same name. Wish I had a tape of that show. I saw him ring the Edmund Fitzgerald bell on that fairly recent special. Thank you all for your words of welcome and your good information and thoughts. You are appreciated. Send rain -- the grassfires here in the Texas Panhandle are all around us. --Seems to me that's a good source for a new Lightfoot song. Cheers. J
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Old 03-14-2006, 06:27 PM   #16
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Big Jim
That is Gord doin the whistlin,and Gord's Acoustic D18 Martin,along with Terry's acoustic in the background.Don't know when He stopped doin the "whistle",but He was doin it last year... key of C,capo2,If my rememory serves me right....
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Old 03-15-2006, 12:38 PM   #17
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I audiotaped that Soundstage show off the tv in 1979 and Gord says "gonna sound like an old tin whistle here" . During the intermission each member of the band talks about what they play.
In the background and sometimes in the foreground Gord is talking to someone (Terry?) about playing a unison line while he (Gord) is whistling. When the album came out it sounded like GL was whistling and playing in unison and Terry was doing a counter-melody at that part.
It's my favorite song on that album.
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Old 03-15-2006, 12:38 PM   #18
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I audiotaped that Soundstage show off the tv in 1979 and Gord says "gonna sound like an old tin whistle here" . During the intermission each member of the band talks about what they play.
In the background and sometimes in the foreground Gord is talking to someone (Terry?) about playing a unison line while he (Gord) is whistling. When the album came out it sounded like GL was whistling and playing in unison and Terry was doing a counter-melody at that part.
It's my favorite song on that album.
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Old 03-29-2006, 05:31 PM   #19
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I do believe "superiorsings1" got it all right. Now, I wish more than ever I had seen that Soundstage show. My daughter has noted all the songs dealing (directly or indirectly) with seafaring, sailors, bodies of water, ships, et al, on the two GL discs we play while moving. I guess I hadn't especially noticed that before, but the percentage is rather high. Now, I have to find a copy of that CD that has "Sea of Tranquility" on it to see what she thinks of that somewhat odd piece. (I note that he uses the word "quails" to make a rhyme. Are there quails in Canada? Also elks and mooses and deers?) And I'm still trying to explain to her what a "hangdog hotel" might be like. Lord knows I've stayed in a few of 'em, especially overseas. She knows what "pass the jar" means, since I occasionally enjoy a bourbon and branch (and iced tea) in an old Mason jar. She has a little cheap requinto guitar I bought many years ago, so she certainly knows what an "old guitar" feels like. I'm now waiting for the day she asks me to explain what GL means when he sings about "all the lovely ladies in their finery tonight," the gents who pursue them, and "Heaven can be yours for just an hour." Hmmmm--does that song take place in a coastal city and is it populated by seafarers, too? Fires are out. We got a little rain, but not much and still need lots more. Y'all stay safe.
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Old 03-30-2006, 10:35 AM   #20
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We have quail in Northern Maine, much farther north than a lot of the areas in Canada are. We call them pheasants. We also have deer, elk and moose.

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Old 04-01-2006, 10:45 PM   #21
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Sorry, Cathy -- I was making an oblique, rather foggy crack about GL cheating by using the word "quails" to force a rhyme, when in most usages, the word "quail" is used as both singular and plural. "Deer" and "elk" and "moose" are similar. Here in Texas, if somebody says he's hunting "quails," we'd look to see where he was pointing his shotgun. (I refuse to yield to the temptation to bring Dick Cheney into this otherwise enlightened discourse.) I have an old friend who is a Moose, and even members of Moose lodges don't use the term "mooses" to refer to more than one member. The "elks" of the fraternal lodge do use "elks" as a member plural, but those who hunt elk do not add the "s" to make a plural animal. You, though, made my point for me in your response: You, in my opinion, used the exactly correct plural forms when describing them. --But in Canada, a "quail" is a pheasant? Hmmmmm -- we have several species of both, and the bird families are quite different.
Anyway, thanks for the info.
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Old 04-01-2006, 11:40 PM   #22
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we have mountain quail in Canada:
http://wildspace.ec.gc.ca/life.cfm?ID=MOUQ&Lang=e

we also have pheasant:
http://birding.about.com/gi/dynamic/...lour%2Fc21.htm

we also have moose, elk, deer, caribou.
it is a caribou on our quarter. it is not a moose.

char
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Old 04-01-2006, 11:40 PM   #23
charlene
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we have mountain quail in Canada:
http://wildspace.ec.gc.ca/life.cfm?ID=MOUQ&Lang=e

we also have pheasant:
http://birding.about.com/gi/dynamic/...lour%2Fc21.htm

we also have moose, elk, deer, caribou.
it is a caribou on our quarter. it is not a moose.

char
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Old 04-02-2006, 07:55 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by Big Jim:
Sorry, Cathy -- I was making an oblique, rather foggy crack about GL cheating by using the word "quails" to force a rhyme, when in most usages, the word "quail" is used as both singular and plural. "Deer" and "elk" and "moose" are similar. Here in Texas, if somebody says he's hunting "quails," we'd look to see where he was pointing his shotgun. (I refuse to yield to the temptation to bring Dick Cheney into this otherwise enlightened discourse.) I have an old friend who is a Moose, and even members of Moose lodges don't use the term "mooses" to refer to more than one member. The "elks" of the fraternal lodge do use "elks" as a member plural, but those who hunt elk do not add the "s" to make a plural animal. You, though, made my point for me in your response: You, in my opinion, used the exactly correct plural forms when describing them. --But in Canada, a "quail" is a pheasant? Hmmmmm -- we have several species of both, and the bird families are quite different.
Anyway, thanks for the info.
Oh, Northern Maine has a lot of hunters. They'd be ridiculed if they said elks, deers, mooses or quails. Someone would probably take their guns away from them, just as a form of punishment.

I don't know what a quail is in Canada. In Northern Maine, it's a pheasant.

[ April 02, 2006, 20:00: Message edited by: Cathy ]
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Old 04-02-2006, 07:58 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by charlene:
we have mountain quail in Canada:
http://wildspace.ec.gc.ca/life.cfm?ID=MOUQ&Lang=e

we also have pheasant:
http://birding.about.com/gi/dynamic/...lour%2Fc21.htm

we also have moose, elk, deer, caribou.
it is a caribou on our quarter. it is not a moose.

char
We have a town named Caribou, about 12 miles east of Presque Isle.

There are no caribou or elk in it. It seems they're on the endangered species list. Lots of deer, moose and quail, though.
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