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Old 05-31-2012, 08:00 PM   #2
Join Date: May 2000
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Default Re: Acoustic Guitar Magazine
Gordon Lightfoot, All Live

By Phil Catalfo

For half a century, Gordon Lightfoot has been the very model of a major folk-pop singer-songwriter-guitarist. The legendary Canadian troubadour has seen many of his songs (especially “Early Morning Rain”) covered by innumerable popular acts since the ’60s, and he eventually scored major hits of his own with such songs as “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Sundown,” “Carefree Highway,” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” He toured and recorded for decades, but health issues (an aortic aneurysm in 2002, a stroke in 2006) stalled his career and prodigious output. Back in action, Lightfoot celebrated his return to touring by culling through the archives of recordings from his concerts between 1998 and 2001 at Toronto’s Massey Hall (where he has performed 150 times since the early ’70s) to compile the 19 tracks on All Live. By these shows, Lightfoot’s oaken baritone had lost some of its warmth and depth; on some of the tracks here, his voice sounds downright reedy, which may come as a shock to longtime aficionados. But he had lost none of his ability to put a lyric across, with palpable feeling and flawless cadences. His guitar work, whether strumming or fingerpicking, is impeccable, and his accompanists, especially on guitar and bass, are always illuminating. It’s a crowd-pleasing set, too, including all the aforementioned hits, though it lacks a single song from his masterful 1971 album, Summer Side of Life. Still, All Live is a worthy testament to a stellar body of work. (Rhino)
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