Dalla scheda di Gordon Lightfoot di Piero Scaruffi:

Gordon Lightfoot was the first Canadian folk-singer to become an international star. He was also one of the first folk-singers to fuse folk, pop and country into a warm, melodic, introspective and elegant genre. Lightfoot re-invented the figure of the simple, melancholy troubadour of the Pete Seeger school.

Lightfoot, who had grown up in the Toronto area, began composing music after college in the early 1960s. Discovered by the American folk circuit, some of his songs were absorbed into the repertoire of Peter Paul & Mary, Ian & Sylvia, etc. He was already 28 years old when he released his first album, Lightfoot (UA, 1966), which already counted on delicate, long-suffering country ballads such as Early Morning Rain and Ribbon Of Darkness. The albums The Way I Feel (UA, 1968), containing Canadian Railroad Trilogy (archetypal trans-continental epic that would become her specialty), Did She Mention My Name (UA, 1968), and Back Here On Earth (UA, 1969) continued in that sad, single-minded genre, but the romantic elegies of If You Could Read My Mind (Reprise, 1970) took a prodigious leap forward. Sung sotto voce with light acoustic guitar counterpoint, Minstrel Of the Dawn (worthy of Donovan`s early bucolic watercolors), Sit Down Young Stranger, and If You Could Read My Mind (in a mature folk-pop style), imposed an impressive singer-songwriter. Lightfoot, endowed with a firm, limpid, modern-preacher baritone that enhances the dramatic component of his stories, focused on universal themes: love, the human condition, natural settings.

The melancholy and poignant reflections on life of Summer Side Of Life (1971), both the capital melody of Summer Side Of Life and the realist triptych of Nous Vivons Ensemble, Same Old Loverman and Cotton Jenny, confirmed the musician's stature, In that muzak limbo that retains the dignity of craftsmanship, Lightfoot pursued a personal, twilight vision of modern life.

Don Quixote (1972), with the slender Old Dan's Records, perhaps his most depressed album, probed the most fragile recesses of the human psyche. The lively refrains, with more complex arrangements, of Sundown (1973) climbed the charts: Sundown, a Kenny Rogers-esque country refrain, and Carefree Highway, a solemn song of freedom, individualism, and fatalism. The entire album is marked by melodic and passionate country (High And Dry, Circle Of Steel).

The golden period was closed by Rainy Day People, on Cold On The Shoulder (Reprise, 1975), and the new historical epic, Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald, on Summertime Dream (1976).

Gord's Gold (Reprise, 1975) is a double anthology.

The decline began with Endless Wire (Warner, 1978). Shadows (1982) still boasts Heaven Help The Devil and 14 Karat Gold, and on Dream Street Rose (1980) Ghosts of Cape Horn and Sea Of Tranquillity stand out, but Salute (1983) and East of Midnight (1986) are only pale imitations of his classic style.

Waiting For You (Reprise, 1993) and Painter Passing Through (1998), on the other hand, are surprising returns to his domestic epos.

Lightfoot died in 2023. Gordon Lightfoot fu il primo folk-singer Canadese a diventera una star internazionale. Fu anche uno dei primi folk-singer a fondere folk, pop e country in un genere caldo, melodico, introspettivo ed elegante. Lightfoot re-invento` la figura del trovatore semplice e malinconico della scuola di Pete Seeger.

Lightfoot, cresciuto nella zona di Toronto, aveva cominciato a comporre musica dopo il college, nei primi anni '60. Scoperto dal circuito folk Americano, alcune sue canzoni vennero assorbite nel repertorio di Peter Paul & Mary, Ian & Sylvia, etc. Aveva gia` 28 anni quando pubblico` il suo primo album, Lightfoot (UA, 1966), che contava gia` su ballate country delicate e sofferte come Early Morning Rain e Ribbon Of Darkness. Gli album The Way I Feel (UA, 1968), che contiene Canadian Railroad Trilogy (archetipo dell'epica trans-continentale che diventera` una sua specialita`), Did She Mention My Name (UA, 1968) e Back Here On Earth (UA, 1969) continuarono in quel genere triste e monocorde, ma le elegie romantiche di If You Could Read My Mind (Reprise, 1970) compirono un prodigioso balzo di qualita`. Cantate sottovoce con contrappunto lieve di chitarra acustica, Minstrel Of the Dawn (degna dei primi acquarelli bucolici di Donovan), Sit Down Young Stranger, e If You Could Read My Mind (in un mature stile folk-pop), imposero un singer-songwriter di grande effetto. Lightfoot, dotato di un baritono fermo e limpido, da predicatore moderno, che esalta la componente drammatica delle sue storie, si concentrava sui temi universali: l'amore, la condizione umana, gli scenari naturali.

Le malinconiche e struggenti riflessioni sulla vita di Summer Side Of Life (1971), sia la maiuscola melodia di Summer Side Of Life sia il trittico realista di Nous Vivons Ensemble, Same Old Loverman e Cotton Jenny, confermarono la statura del musicista, In quel limbo di muzak che conserva la dignita` dell'artigianato, Lightfoot inseguiva una personale e crepuscolare visione della vita moderna.

Don Quixote (1972), con la scarna Don Quixote, e Old Dan's Records (1972), forse il suo album piu` depresso, sondarono i recessi piu` fragili della psiche umana. I ritornelli vivaci, con arrangiamenti piu` complessi, di Sundown (1973) scalarono le classifiche: Sundown, un ritornello country alla Kenny Rogers, e Carefree Highway, un solenne canto di liberta`, di individualismo e di fatalismo. Tutto l'album e` improntato a un country melodico e passionale (High And Dry, Circle Of Steel).

Il periodo d'oro venne chiuso da Rainy Day People, su Cold On The Shoulder (Reprise, 1975), e dalla nuova epica storica, Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald, su Summertime Dream (1976).

Gord's Gold (Reprise, 1975) e` un doppio antologico.

La decadenza ebbe inizio con Endless Wire (Warner, 1978). Shadows (1982) vanta ancora Heaven Help The Devil e 14 Karat Gold, e su Dream Street Rose (1980) spiccano Ghosts of Cape Horn e Sea Of Tranquillity, ma Salute (1983) e East of Midnight (1986) sono soltanto pallide imitazioni del suo stile classico.

Waiting For You (Reprise, 1993) e Painter Passing Through (1998) sono invece sorprendenti ritorni al suo epos domestico.

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