Gordon (Meredith) Lightfoot Noel Coppage - Essay

Noel Coppage

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Few words of intriguing implication—words, say, sporting a positive and colorful mantle of romanticism—fit a performer better than troubadour fits Gordon Lightfoot. Time has shown him to be the troubadour of this modern bunch, and his new "Cold on the Shoulder" album …—in addition to adding evidence that quality will surface and be recognized—shows how gracefully the consummate troubadour goes about the business of traveling, writing, and singing songs.

It is a mellow album that rocks when the mood arrives, and some of it is just about timeless. It is also much more varied than it at first appears; Rainy Day People is one type of song, and an almost classically elegant example of that type, and Bells of the Evening, without fussing over its own individuality, is a fine example of an entirely different sort. There's a magnificent children's song, Fine as Fine Can Be, that Lightfoot wrote for his eight-year-old daughter…. All the Lovely Ladies suggests a round; Lightfoot knows music inside out, you see. Rainbow Trout puts the emphasis on lyrics … to offer a glimpse of the whimsey in Lightfoot's sense of humor. And the detail work everywhere is as fine as fine can be. (pp. 81-2)

[Brace] yourself, America, for one of those infrequent jolts of that thing grandparents lament when the handles of new station wagons come off in their hands. Quality, they call it. (p. 82)

Noel Coppage, in his review of "Cold on the Shoulder," in Stereo Review (copyright © 1975 by Ziff-Davis Publishing Company), Vol. 34, No. 6, June, 1975, pp. 81-2.