Gordon Meredith Lightfoot Jr. (November 17, 1938 – May 1, 2023) is a Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist who achieved international success in folk, folk-rock, and country music. He is credited with helping to define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s. He is often referred to as Canada’s greatest songwriter and is known internationally as a folk-rock legend.
Lightfoot’s songs, including “For Lovin’ Me”, “Early Morning Rain”, “Steel Rail Blues”, “Ribbon of Darkness”—a number one hit on the U.S. country chart with Marty Robbins’s cover in 1965—and “Black Day in July,” about the 1967 Detroit riot, brought him wide recognition in the 1960s. Canadian chart success with his own recordings began in 1962 with the No. 3 hit “(Remember Me) I’m the One”, followed by recognition and charting abroad in the 1970s. He topped the US Hot 100 or AC chart with the hits “If You Could Read My Mind” (1970), “Sundown” (1974); “Carefree Highway” (1974), “Rainy Day People” (1975), and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” (1976), and had many other hits that appeared in the top 40.
Several of Lightfoot’s albums achieved gold and multi-platinum status internationally. His songs have been recorded by renowned artists such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr., The Kingston Trio, Jerry Lee Lewis, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Herb Alpert, Harry Belafonte, Sarah McLachlan, Eric Clapton, John Mellencamp, Peter, Paul and Mary, Glen Campbell, The Grateful Dead, Nico, and Olivia Newton-John.
This double CD contains all four of the Toronto singer/songwriter’s ’60s studio albums (the live LP Sunday Concert, not included here, was also released in the ’60s). On these records, his resonant vocals, lyrical ambition, and melodic strengths produced as close a rival to Bob Dylan as Canada ever fashioned during that decade, and foreshadowed work by other major Canadian singer/songwriters of the late ’60s, such as Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Leonard Cohen. “Early Mornin’ Rain” (covered by fellow Canadian folkies Ian & Sylvia), the folk-rock protest number “Black Day in July,” the epic “Canadian Railroad Trilogy,” and his cover of Ewan McColl‘s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” are all present, and are among the most popular tracks Lightfoot has issued during his long career. Featuring both acoustic and folk-rock recordings, this neatly bundles Lightfoot‘s early work into a listenable and fairly inexpensive package.
Track Listing – Disc 1
Track Listing – Disc 2