Gordon (Meredith) Lightfoot Loraine Alterman - Essay

Loraine Alterman

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

It seems so easy when Gordon Lightfoot does it—writes songs that just flow out in his warm, mellow tones. Yet, it's the rare talent who can approach Lightfoot's class and a rarer one who achieves the taste that marks every one of Lightfoot's recordings. You know that Lightfoot's effortless style comes from hard work: here is a mind that can sort out the feelings all of us share and convey them in music that is perfectly expressive of their meaning.

[On "Old Dan's Records"] Lightfoot isn't singing and writing about the loves of boys and girls but of men and women. "Can't Depend on Love" is the wry realization of an adult human being. "Farewell to Annabel" is about another love that didn't last, but again it's presented from a mature point of view, asking the former lover to remain friends.

Of course, Lightfoot isn't just a writer of love songs. The title tune is a rollicking ditty about how much fun it would be to dance to the old-time tunes. You can almost see people tapping their toes and swinging their partners. Lightfoot brings on a smile of recognition on "Easy Morning," a song which everyone who longs for Sundays will love. "Hi-Way Songs" is his own testament to the love-hate relationship performers have with being on tour….

Let's hope this Canadian singer never changes and continues to provide us with treasures like "Old Dan's Records."

Loraine Alterman, in her review of "Old Dan's Records," in The New York Times (© 1972 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), December 10, 1972, p. 38D.