Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Carefree Highway

So tomorrow I leave to join the family and head north through the Michigan pines up to the shores of the big lake for a week of cool weather, fresh water, sand, fresh air, calming breezes, fresh fish, and hopefully another collection of summer vacation memories. But first I leave you with a confession: I love Gordon Lightfoot’s music. There, I said it—and I am proud of it.

Now I don’t want to pigeonhole any TR readers, but I am going to take a wild guess that most of you who stop by don’t have much Gordon in your collection and might not share my affection for his music. Don’t worry—say anything you want. This attachment is too deep to shake. But why? Ah, that is the interesting question. Two words: big brother.

See, here is the deal. Growing up I, like so many kids, just wanted to be like my oldest sibling (I loved my older sister too--and Little Sis, but I wanted to be my older brother). He was (and is) a real music lover, although in a somewhat more mellow vein than I ended up going. But Gordon was definitely one part of his collection that I heard plenty off and absorbed as an adolescent.

This was further deepened when my brother learned to play guitar and played different music with his friends including, yup, Gordon. So there I am a teenager—what to do. Learn to play guitar, right? And what could be cooler than getting to play guitar with your older brother and friends and what shall we play among other things? Yup, Gordon.

Now add to all this big brother adoration the fact that we grew up in Michigan—you know right across the lake from Ontario where you know who is from. So much of the music is about terrain not so different from what I am experiencing growing up. And yes, I even love The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald—you would too if you vacationed in Paradise, MI which is on Whitefish Bay and you saw what Lake Superior looks like when it is dangerously rocking!

So this all sounds like excuses, but they are not. They are all wonderful memories of growing up. And to this day, cool fall weather, or a cool rainy day (or even when I yearn for that weather) leads me to throw in some Gordon. And of course heading up into the pines of northern Michigan really makes me want to hear Gordon (Neats will tell you that there is a specific moment when Gordon is appropriate on the drive north).

Now beyond that, let me also say that I think Gordon’s music is more than just nostalgia for me, but that he is an artist worth listening to some—not all of it, but much of it. You can go back to older albums like If You Could Read My Mind which includes the first recording of “Me and Bobby McGee”—yup first one to record that—along with his own classics. Or look to his mid-career stuff which I like so much because it was what I listened to the most growing up. Check out Endless Wire, Summertime Dream or Dream Street Rose. Or check out the next set of albums including Shadows, Salute or Waiting For You.

I am still working on how I want to add music files, so for now here are a few links to some Gordon tunes over at the Tubes (no endorsement of the images here, they are just the studio versions of the songs that I am offering up as there just isn't a good selection of live video out there).

So I head up north with plenty of Gord’s Gold in my CD pack. We will see you on the other side in a couple of weeks. I hope to return to some interesting suggestions about campaign songs (see post below).


Lisa B. said...

Did you read this?


A pretty big listing of different ways to stream music. If you haven't checked it out, it might help you think about how to add music to the site?

Also, I love Gordon--brings back bigtime nostalgia from my high school era youth--and I think he has a big, beautiful voice, which, come on, who can argue with that?

lexdexter said...

the song "beautiful" is an all-time favorite.

i also dig all the "hits," and have three or four of his albs.

'just in case you had me pegged as a hater.

i mean, it's not like he's JAMES TAYLOR or anybody as repugnant as that.

CPS said...

Lisa B: thanks as always and I will check that out once I am back in the swing of things.

Lex: ditto on that tune--one of the first things I learned on guitar. And just when I was feeling okay about my honesty regarding music, you tell me I can't write about JT?! Damn!