Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Gordon Lightfoot - Sundown, album review [1974]

Knackered Knees and Nostalgia

I have just laid the final bits of plastic and ground sheet, masking taped all around the skirting boards ready for painting, but my knees are now fucked so there will be no priming the walls today.

Unlike my return to DIY which I now almost completely detest, I can return to albums like this from Lightfoot with genuine appreciation. I used to play this a lot, especially after a trip to Kentucky in 1975 when title track Sundown was getting loads of airplay [along with Joni Mitchell’s A Free Man in Paris, Steeley Dan’s Rickie Don’t Lose That Number, John Denver’s Annie and Conway Twitty’s Honkey Tonk Angel] which with these left a lasting impression, inextricably linked with my visit.

As well as that great track with memorable if simple bass line foregrounded, others which still stand the test of time better than my knees are Somewhere USA; Seven Island Suite; Circle of Steel [even with that twee recorder]; Is There Anyone Home which is wonderfully atmospheric in its rhetorical title, opening horns and obtuse lyrics [though a man behind you with a gun is quite direct]; Carefree Highway with strings and harmony sweeping its AOR like a caressing breeze across a field of long grass [ok, twee again, but….], and closer Too Late for Prayin’ where those stereotypical lyrics of the day still held some naïve potential to action change – here an environmental message acting as an ironic warning when we listen today – and Lightfoot’s voice is as beautiful as the melody.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you have reviewed this, Some Awe as I have a couple of GL's songs and wondered which of his many albums to get. This one sounds like a good choice. Hope the knackered knees have recovered!