Gordon (Meredith) Lightfoot Noel Coppage - Essay

Noel Coppage

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

"Endless Wire" is a departure of sorts, but only to about the same degree that "Old Dan's Records" was in its time. The new one, quantitatively measured—by the amplification of instruments and the nature of such songs as I Don't Mind, If There's a Reason, and the verse (but not the chorus) of Endless Wire—is [Lightfoot's] rockingest album yet. But it is really no more Rock than his Nashville one, "Summer Side of Life," was Country.

Lightfoot's other abiding interests, including his feel for the working class and working-class settings, his fondness for narratives, and his preoccupation with the loved one who got away, are all in this one too. His songwriting is everywhere crafty and in spots exceptionally bright. Daylight Katy is a wonder, actually two seemingly unrelated kinds of song successfully combined, and the title song's chorus snares your mind from the straight-ahead rock mode of the verse and gives it a little snap. The Circle Is Small, which I believe he's had around for a while, is the kind of song you hear and then say, "Now why wasn't that written ages ago?" It's a natural, as if it's been hanging there in the air for years and Lightfoot was the first one smart enough to pluck it.

Overall, the album is "different," but … it's a gradual and graceful difference…. It makes everyone involved, especially the listener, feel a little more secure about any more changes that might be on the way.

Noel Coppage, "'Endless Wire', Gordon Lightfoot's 'Different' Album, Is His Rockingest Yet," in Stereo Review (copyright © 1978 by Ziff-Davis Publishing Company). Vol. 40, No. 5, May, 1978, p. 91.